Our expert team can guide you through the sometimes complex area of international and multi-national aviation claims and air accidents abroad.

This specialised area of international law, combined with technical issues involving aircraft systems, operation and accident investigation can seem intimidating but we have the experience needed to help you make a successful claim.

The laws governing the airline’s liability for international flights

The majority of aeroplane incidents involving international flights are subject to the rules of the Warsaw or Montreal conventions, which govern liability and how much compensation the airline should pay to victims. If the flight is performed by a European Community Carrier, EC Regulations 889/2002 and 2027/97 govern the liability of the carrier.

These international conventions and regulations only apply to the airline. Other parties that may be liable, such as the aircraft manufacturer, are subject to different legal rules, such as the product liability laws in their home nation.

The precise rules and levels of compensation available depend on which convention applies to the flight in question or whether it was performed by an EC carrier. We will review your claim with you and will explain which laws or conventions apply. We will also give you an estimate of the kind of compensation you may be entitled to.

Making your international air accident claim

There are often a number of options available for where you can bring your claim, depending on factors such as:

  1. The home nation of the carrier.
  2. The country of the carrier’s main place of business.
  3. The country where the contract was made or the ticket purchased.
  4. The destination of the flight.
  5. The home nation of the passenger if the carrier flies to or from that country.

The Irwin Mitchell Aviation Team can advise on the best place to make your claim, the relevant laws and the possible compensation settlements available.

How much is the claim worth?

This depends on a number of factors, including which convention applies to your claim. Other factors can include:

  • The law on compensation claims in the country that has jurisdiction
  • The severity of injuries
  • The age of the passenger
  • The income of the passenger
  • Whether the passenger had dependants, for example a wife or children

Working out the full value of each international claim can be very complicated and needs a lot of work and research.  As the carrier, manufacturer and insurers want to pay as little as possible in each case, it is important to have your case argued at its best by specialist aviation lawyers.

Final settlement of your case will take some time. If the Montreal Convention or the EC Regulations apply to your case, the airline should make an advance payment without delay to assist if you and your family are suffering economic hardship. The amount is normally around $25,000 and we can assist in ensuring these payments are made promptly.

If you have any questions about the applicable law and the amount of compensation you may be entitled to, or would like to start a compensation claim, please contact our aviation law team.


"One of the market leaders in aviation and personal injury work. They've got strength and depth." – Chambers & Partners

"Irwin Mitchell is a top-rate firm for aviation compensation claims." – Chambers & Partners

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