New Liability Limit Increases Under Montreal Convention 1999

29 January 2020

On 31 October 2019 we wrote about the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s proposal to increase the liability limits under The Montreal Convention 1999 (“the Montreal Convention) by 13.9%, based on the accumulated rate of inflation since the last revision in 2008.

That proposal has now been approved by the majority of member States, and the liability limits are currently in force as of 28 December 2019, as follows:

  • Injury/death: The Article 21 strict liability limit increased from 113,000 SDRs (approx. AUD$227,400) to 128,821 SDRs (approx. AUD$259,000);
  • Delay: The limit under Article 22(1) increased from 4,694 SDRs (approx. AUD$9,450) to 5,346 SDRs (approx. AUD$10,750);
  • Baggage: The limit under Article 22(2) increased from 1,131 SDRs (approx. AUD$2,275) to 1,288 SDRs (approx. AUD$2,590); and
  • Cargo: The limit under Article 22(3) increased from 19 SDRs per kg (approx. AUG$38.23) to 22 SDRs per kg (approx. AUD$44.27).

It is important to note that the applicability of the revised SDR limits to carriage to which the Montreal Convention applies, will be dependent for the most part, on the manner in which each Contracting State ratified the Montreal Convention under its local legislation.

Accordingly, as the Montreal Convention has been implemented into Australian law through Part 1A of the Civil Aviation (Carrier’s Liability) Act 1959, the revised SDR limits automatically came into effect in Australia as of 28 December 2019.

For those Contracting States who have ratified the Convention by inclusion of the wording of the Convention as a stand-alone statute, the revised SDR limits will not automatically take effect until they amend their own local legislation.

Air carriers should review their liability and insurance arrangements in light of this development.

This article was written by Simon Liddy, Partner and Jessica Mackay, Solicitor.

Subscribe to HWL Ebsworth Publications and Events

HWL Ebsworth regularly publishes articles and newsletters to keep our clients up to date on the latest legal developments and what this means for your business.

To receive these updates via email, please complete the subscription form and indicate which areas of law you would like to receive information on.

Contact us