The APIL Accidents Abroad Conference, sponsored by 12 King’s Bench Walk, took place on Thursday 3 December 2020. Spencer Turner and Cressida Mawdesley-Thomas run us through the highlights from this year’s event.

This year the usual buffet lunch and face-to-face talks were replaced with remote presentations and virtual networking; but the fascinating content remained unchanged!

Christopher Deacon of Stewarts and Jatinder Paul of Irwin Mitchell kicked us off with a warm welcome before handing over to 12 King’s Bench Walk’s William Audland QC and Nina Ross, who chaired the event.

The impact of Covid-19 on the travel industry has been at the forefront of everyone’s minds and the first talks focussed on the lessons learnt by the industry and potential claims. We heard from experts about how cruises liners and hotels can be kept ‘ship-shape’ and Dominique Smith of 1 Chancery Lane talked us through potential claims against hotels and airlines.

Following a short break, the wind was in our sails and we were back to listen to Matthew Chapman QC and Ella Davis of 1 Chancery Lane talk about cruise and maritime claims. The talked focused on the financial limits or caps on the damages that can be awarded under the Athens Convention and the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims 1976.

We moved from ships to planes for the next talk which was given by 12 King’s Bench Walk’s Max Archer and Sarah Stewart of Stewarts. Max and Sarah’s talk centred on developments in aviation accidents and Montreal Convention claims with updates on drones, the litigation arising from the Shoreham Air Show crash and the Boeing 737 Max.

William Audland QC and Nina Ross welcomed us back after lunch and Jennifer Lund and Cheryl Palmer-Hughes, both of Irwin Mitchell, took us on a tour of Italy, Spain and England and Wales in their presentation on fatal accident compensation.

No accidents abroad conference would be complete without a Brexit update and Christopher Deacon of Stewarts took us through recent developments and challenges in relation to jurisdiction post-Brexit transition.

Sarah Crowther QC (wearing a very festive set of Rudolph antlers) and Carin Hunt of Outer Temple Chambers spoke about insurance indemnity, the Consumer Credit Act 1974 and the challenges of dealing with claims against insolvent defendants. A point which, fortuitously, Max Archer and William Audland QC have just been given permission to appeal (considering whether a ‘debtor’ under the CCA 1974 includes beneficiaries under a contract).

The day ended with an update from Asela Wijeyarante of 3 Hare Court on one of the biggest travel cases of the last few years, X v Kuoni [2019] UKSC 37, in which William Audland QC, Nina Ross and Achas Burin of 12 King’s Bench Walk appeared for the Defendant in the Supreme Court. Asela provided an update on the most recent development in the case since it was referred by the Supreme Court to the CJEU.  

William Audland QC and Nina Ross then brought the fascinating virtual conference to a close. There are always challenges with hosting events virtually, but the conference ran smoothly, and it proved to be a fantastic opportunity to see and hear from colleagues. We look forward to seeing everyone again at next year’s (hopefully in person) conference.

James Beeton Cross-Border

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