Does Social Media = Jail Time?

Fraudulent litigants be warned!

Have you been entirely truthful? If not, you may fall foul to your own Social Media history!

The recent Court of Appeal judgment in Zurich Insurance PLC v David Romaine, [2019] EWCA Civ 851 (CA), makes it clear that committal proceedings can be brought against a litigant whose Social Media activity, in this case a Facebook account, reveals dishonesty.

The claimant issued personal injury proceedings against his former employer for noise induced hearing loss relying on a medical report which stated that he; ‘had not had any noisy hobbies’. The appellant solicitors commissioned an ‘intelligence report’, in which the claimants Social Media history was inspected, revealing that he was a motorbike enthusiast and performed in a live rock band. This was served. Tactically, the claimant discontinued his claim and the appellant issued committal proceedings. At first instance Goose J found that despite a contempt, it was not in the public interest for proceedings to be brought in circumstances of discontinuance at an early stage and dismissed the appellant’s application. The matter went on appeal, consequently the Court of Appeal granted permission for committal proceedings to be brought.

LJ Haddon-Cave stated; “a message needs to go out to those who might be tempted to bring – or lend their names to – fraudulent claims: that dishonest claimants cannot avoid being liable to committal proceedings merely by discontinuing their original fraudulent claim”.

It is now clearer than ever that:
• Electronic evidence is and will become vital in cases, to establish the merit of a litigant’s case. The inspection of such, ought to be an additional step for legal professionals and will become key part of the preparation process for litigation.

• Over the past decade Social Media has changed how we communicate and share information about ourselves and our lives. It is a treasure trove of evidence in the public domain. This is easily accessible and not exempt from the eye of the law. Any assertion in evidence and conduct of parties, can be proven or unproven by gathering evidence from Social Media platforms to form an ‘intelligence report’, which in light of this recent judgment, will most likely become commonplace.

• Discontinuance under part 38, cannot be used by a claimant as a tactic to ‘wind up’ a claim, without adverse repercussions, in circumstances where there is clear evidence of untruths, particularly, from social media posts and in response to part 18 questions or in their witness statements.

• Committal proceedings should be considered in cases of fraudulent conduct.

© 2019 Whitestone Chambers

London Stansted is the worst airport for flight delays in 2018

The Press Association has released a report on its analysis of the Civil Aviation Authority, (CAA), delay data, for all scheduled and chartered flights in 2018 across 24 major UK airports.

It shows Stansted had the longest average flight delays of any airport in Britain last year, as passengers were kept waiting on average 25 minutes. While the average flight delay across all the featured airports was 16 minutes.

Stansted is the fourth busiest airport in the UK and a hub for several low-cost eastern European airlines, as well as being Ryanair’s biggest base, it also covers significant operations by EasyJet and Jet2.

A spokesperson for Stansted blamed “a particularly challenging summer last year,” adding that “adverse weather and air traffic control issues had a dramatic impact on airline on-time performance”. Commenting further that a multimillion-pound investment by Ryanair to support its ground operation at the airport “has already helped deliver significant service improvements to flight punctuality”.

Which? Travel editor Rory Borland said: “It’s completely unacceptable”. “These delays aren’t just an inconvenience but can leave holidaymakers hundreds of pounds out of pocket… airlines should stop passing the buck and make it easier for their passengers by finally introducing automatic compensation.”

Agreeing, Alex Neill, a managing director at Which? said delays were “one of the most frustrating things about travelling” and urged passengers to “claim what they are entitled to”. She added that airlines should introduce automatic compensation, so people receive what they are owed “without having to jump through hoops”.

In response the Airport Operators Association, (AOA), listed a “range of factors” for delays last year, such as cold weather blasts, air traffic controller strikes in Europe, and disruption partly caused by constraints of “outdated” UK airspace infrastructure. They added, “Airports are working with air traffic service providers and the government to plan and deliver the necessary changes so everyone can continue to fly with a minimum of delays.”

Download to see the full list of average delays.


© 2019 Emma Connolly


Wizz Air! Get on board!

The UK’s airline of choice Post-Brexit, (potentially).

So, who are Wizz Air and why might they become the UK holiday makers airline of choice Post-Brexit?

Jozsef Varadi, Chief Executive Officer of Wizz Air, the Budapest-based airline, which offers routes from London to fast-growing non-EU destinations, takes a refreshingly frank but confident approach in answer to Brexit complications for airlines.

Varadi, simply finds the furore around Brexit ‘tiring’ and ‘would like to see the end of it, whatever it is.’ This contrasts with the cautious approach taken by some rivals. EasyJet recently raised concerns about how Brexit will affect demand. No such worries for Wizz Air as, according to Varadi, demand remains robust, while ‘current performance … is pretty solid’, with net profit for the year in the upper half of its guidance, showing a growth of 30 percent in London since the Brexit vote.

Varadi concedes that Wizz Air still have work to do to meet EU rules post Brexit. Due to share ownership rules, airlines that are not majority owned by EU nationals are set to lose their right to fly within the bloc after Britain leaves the EU.

Wizz Air are not close to being 50% owned by EU nationals outside of Britain. To resolve the issue, Varadi is seeking more EU investors, as well as, setting up a subsidiary in Britain to protect Wizz Air flights between the EU and the UK after Brexit and flights from the UK to elsewhere. In addition, like other airlines, Wizz Air has clauses in its articles of association which allow it to remove voting rights from all non-EU shareholders as a last resort.

Seemingly, Wizz is not fizzed and Varadi does not; ‘think that we’re going to end up with a disastrous scenario on aviation’, post-Brexit. He believes Britain should ‘just get it done and move beyond Brexit’. A positive outlook and sentiment, that might just get a warm welcome from UK holiday makers, seeking a Brexit / post-Brexit getaway, and who might just check-out Wizz Air.

© 2019 Whitestone Chambers

Norwegian Airlines losses revealed.

Norwegian airlines suffered a loss of £133.5 million in the first quarter of 2019. They are reassessing their financial situation since the impermanent global ban was incorporated on MAX 8 operations as the aircraft was involved in two accidents in a short space of time.

The airline currently has eighteen 737 Max 8’s and several deliveries have been placed on hold.

The chief executive of Norwegian Airlines said, he has numerous meetings with BA to discuss the negative effects on grounding to eliminate the problems the MAX 8 is causing Norwegian Airlines and the wider industry. He also stated the airline has been doing everything to ensure flights are carried out as normal by using wet lease companies when needed.

After suffering such a drastic loss, the airline intend to recover their profits margins by running an extensive cost-reductions programme and the sale of an, as yet undetermined, aircraft,

Currently, the airline express positivity in their new implementations this quarter despite suffering 737 Max problems. They indicate they have taken serious measurements in increasing profitability.

© 2019 Whitestone Chambers