The Court of Appeal has today handed down judgment in Chelluri v Air India Ltd  EWCA Civ 1953, clarifying the scope of Regulation 261/04 providing for compensation for delayed flights. The Court of Appeal held that a series of connecting flights should be taken as a whole for the purposes of the Regulation meaning that the Appellant – who was flying from the US to India via London Heathrow – was not entitled to compensation for a delay on her flight leaving Heathrow which led to a delay on arrival at her final destination in India. The Court held that while the plain wording of the Regulation might have supported the Appellant’s case, this was insufficient grounds to justify departing from a previous judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union on this point.
This judgment shows that the UK courts’ approach to matters of retained EU law is likely to differ significantly from that adopted by the CJEU on the same points (the Court in this instance reaching a different conclusion to that recently proposed by the Advocate general on a very similar case before the CJEU). This judgment is important for demonstrating both the likelihood of future divergence from the CJEU’s rulings and the limited role that general principles of EU law may play post-Brexit in the UK courts’ approach when compared with that of the CJEU itself.
Harry Gillow, instructed by Hayward Baker Solicitors, acted as sole counsel for the Appellant.