High Court of Australia

Air Link Pty Limited v Paterson [2005] HCA 39

Paterson v Air Link Pty Limited

223 CLR 283; 79 ALJR 1407; 218 ALR 700

10 Aug 2005

Case Number: S420/2004 S57/2005


Gleeson CJ, McHugh, Gummow, Kirby, Hayne, Callinan, Heydon JJ


Aviation – Carriage by air – Liability of carrier – Liability under Pt IV of the Civil Aviation (Carriers' Liability) Act 1959 (Cth) ("Carriers Act") for damage sustained by reason of personal injury to a passenger resulting from an accident which took place on board an aircraft in the course of commercial transport operations or in the course of embarking or disembarking – Passenger sustained personal injury whilst disembarking from aircraft – Action brought by passenger – Whether action in exercise of right to damages brought within two years of the date of aircraft's arrival at destination – Whether right to damages extinguished.

Aviation – Carriage by air – Liability of carrier – Statutory right to damages – Extinguishment – Whether extinguishment of right to damages by effluxion of time involves determination of a condition which is of the essence of the right to damages or merely bars enforcement of the right.

Aviation – Carriage by air – Liability of carrier – Carriage within New South Wales and between Queensland and New South Wales conducted by different carriers – Whether that part of carriage conducted within New South Wales is deemed to be carriage between a place in a State and a place in another State – Whether carriage was in successive stages, was regarded by the parties as a single operation and was carriage to which Carriers Act, Pt IV would apply were the whole of the carriage to be performed by a single carrier.

Pleading – Statement of claim – Whether sufficient facts pleaded to raise a claim under Carriers Act, Pt IV – Whether explicit invocation of Carriers Act, Pt IV is necessary to raise such a claim – Relevance of rules of court of a State court where claim arises under federal law.

Pleading – Amendment – Amendment to pleadings to place beyond doubt reliance upon Carriers Act – Whether such amendment permissible after date on which right to damages would be extinguished – Relevance of State limitation of actions legislation.

Pleading – Amendment – Provision in Pt 17 r 4 of the District Court Rules 1973 (NSW) for amendment to statement of claim after expiry of relevant limitation period – Whether Pt 17 r 4 is beyond the rule-making power in s 161 of the District Court Act 1973 (NSW) – Relevance of substantive nature of limitation provisions.

Words and phrases – "is extinguished", "action … brought".

Civil Aviation (Carriers' Liability) Act 1959 (Cth) – Pt IV.

Judiciary Act 1903 (Cth) – ss 79, 80.

District Court Act 1973 (NSW).

District Court Rules 1973 (NSW).

Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules Relating to International Carriage by Air ("Warsaw Convention")
– opened for signature at Warsaw, 12 October 1929, [1963] ATS No 18.

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