Powerpoint presentations of some of the speakers are available on this page.


Programme of the 10th Annual McGill Conference on International Aviation Liability and Insurance


PLAZA CENTRE-VILLE Convention Center
(EVO Building – across from ICAO Headquarters)
777 Boulevard Robert-Bourassa
Montréal, Québec, Canada H3C 3Z7

Tel: (514) 879-0718
Fax: (514) 879-0907

To register for the conference, please go to the registration site (first-time users must register as a new user in order to register and pay for the registration fee).

For a PDF version of the Programme, please download here.


For the full list of participants, please download here.


8:00 – 9:00  REGISTRATION

9:00 – 10:15  Recent Developments in Air Carrier Liability

  • Comparative analysis of recent Warsaw Convention and Montreal Convention jurisprudence
  • Recoverable damages
  • Conflicts between US  and European courts
  • The challenges of achieving global uniformity
  • Federal preemption – does the US Federal Aviation Act preempt the application of state law standards in the entire field of aviation safety?
  • What impact does the regulatory implementation of safety management systems have on liability?

Paul Stephen Dempsey – McGill University, Montreal, Canada


Carlos P. Martins - Bersenas Jacobsen Chouest Thomson Blackburn LLP, Toronto, Canada
John Maggio – Condon & Forsyth, New York, USA
Marc Moller – Kreindler & Kreindler, New York, USA
Sybille Michèle Rexer – Dabelstein & Passehl, Hamburg, Germany

PDF icon air_baltic_v_lithuania_ecj_c-429-14_en.pdf

PDF icon marcela_peskova_v_travel_service_c-315-15_bird_strikes.pdf

PDF icon moller_are_all_airline_crash_victims_treated_equally_and_fairly_under_the_law_.pdf

PDF icon entwurf_eines_gesetzes_zur_einfuhrung_eines_anspruchs_auf_hinterbliebenengeld.pdf

10:15  - 10:45  REFRESHMENT BREAK

10:45 – 12:00  Liability of Governments for Aviation Accidents or Acts of Terrorism

  • Sovereign immunity
  • The US Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act and the Federal Tort Claims Act
  • The new US Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, or JASTA
  • What will be the liability exposure of the United States should other nations enact reciprocal legislation?
  • Can a State force a foreign airline to waive sovereign immunity as a condition of licensing?
  • Libya’s Settlement with Families of Pan Am 103
  • The Challenges of State Liability: A look at KAL 007, Lockerbie, the September 11, 2001, U.S. terror attacks, MH 17 and Cuban Brothers to the Rescue

Robert Donald – DLA Piper, Calgary, Canada


Barry Benson - Director, Aviation and Admiralty Section, US Department of Justice, Washington, DC, USA
Jeffrey Ellis – Clyde & Co., New York, USA
James Healy-Pratt – Stewarts Law LLP, London, UK
Jim Kreindler - Kreindler & Kreindler, New York, USA

12:00 – 13:30  LUNCH

Keynote Address by:

Dr. Fang Liu, Secretary General, ICAO, Montreal, Canada

13:30 – 14:30 Products Liability

  • Does governmental certification preempt tort claims?
  • Recoverable damages
  • The conflict between North American and European courts
  • TCAS, Autopilot and Automation
  • Will we see more use of the Hague Convention on Products Liability?
  • Is there Liability Exposure for Foul Cabin Air and Radiation?
  • What is the liability for the use of counterfeit parts?

Brian Havel – DePaul University, Chicago, USA


Alice Chan- Chan & Grant, LLP, New York, USA
Michael Dreikorn  The IPL Group, LLC, Bookeelia, USA
Brandt Madsen - Smith Amundsen, LLC, Chicago, USA
Timothy Ravich - University of Central Florida, USA
Steven M. Sandler - Woodruff, Johnson, and Evans, Chicago, USA

14:30 – 15:30  Liability of Airports, ANSPs, Lessors and Maintenance Providers

  • Liability of airports for passenger injury
  • Contractual liability of the airport operator
  • Liability of ANSPs (Air Navigation Service Providers)
  • Liability of lessors
  • Liability of maintenance providers

Alan Reitzfeld - Holland & Knight LLP, New York, USA


Sheryl Bregman – Office of the San Francisco City Attorney, San Francisco, California, USA
Donal Patrick Hanley – Aviation Capital Group, Dublin, Ireland
Leigh Ann Kirby - NAV CANADA, Ottawa, Canada
Suzanne McCarthy – Global Aerospace Inc., Parsippany, New Jersey, USA
Darryl Pankratz – Alexander Holburn Beaudin + Lang LLP, Vancouver, Canada

15:30 – 16:00  REFRESHMENT BREAK

16:00 – 17:30  The Challenges of Settlement & Emerging Insurance Issues

  • The challenges of multi-jurisdictional settlements
  • The availability of insurance for acts of terrorism and flights in Conflict Zones A look at MH 370
  • The impact of sanctions and international trade controls on settlements
  • The challenges of dealing with attritional losses
  • The role of insurance in managing the risk of cyber attacks
  • How European insurers prepare for the challenges of Brexit?

George Leloudas, Swansea University, UK


Brian Alexander, Kreindler & Kreindler, New York, USA
Philip Chrystal – Swiss Re, Zurich, Switzerland
Kinga Kolasa-Sokołowska - THB Polska, Warsaw, Poland
Ulla Norrhäll – Munich Re, Munich, Germany
Katherine B Posner - Condon & Forsyth, New York, USA

18:00 – 19:30  GALA RECEPTION


9:30-10:30 What is an “accident” under the Warsaw/Montreal Conventions: Unruly Passengers and Liability for Acts of Unlawful Interference

  • What is the injury-producing event?
  • Should the carrier be liable for the assault by one passenger of another?
  • Should liability be allowed under the Warsaw/Montreal regimes when the “accident” (an unusual or unexpected event) was not caused by an event or occurrence related to the operation of an aircraft?
  • Review of recent court decisions that have circumscribed the liability shield provided by the Tokyo Convention
  • What impact will the Montreal Protocol of 2014, amending the Tokyo Convention, have on liability?
  • What will be the liability exposure of air marshals who subdue an unruly passenger?
  • What are the practical aspects of dealing with unruly passengers?

Timothy Trembley – Paterson MacDougall, Toronto, Canada


Gilles Charette - Air Canada, Montreal, Canada
Senarath Liyanage – Etihad Airways, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Steven Marks, Podhurst Orseck PA, Florida, USA

10:30-11:30 Regulation of Drones and Liability of their Operators

  • Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) versus Autonomous Unmanned Aerial Systems (AUAS)
  • The integration of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) into non-segregated airspace
  • A comparative look at drone regulation in the US, Canada and the EU
  • Liability regimes applicable to UAS, including third party and criminal liability
  • Protection of privacy; are trespass concepts relevant?
  • Procuring insurance for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
  • The threat of cyber security, and terrorism posed by UAS

Mia Wouters –Brussels bar, and University of Ghent, Belgium


Mark Campbell– Dentons, USA
Artur Eberg – Eberg Aviation Consulting, Montreal, Canada
Ayman Idlbi - Norton Rose Fulbright, Montreal, Canada
Serap Zuvin - Serap Zuvin Law Offices, Istanbul, Turkey


11:30-11:50  Refreshment Break

11:50 -13:00 Consumer Rights: Regulation & Litigation

  • How generous is compensation for delay, denied boarding, and flight cancellations?
  • EU Regulation 261 Revised
  • What impact will Brexit have on aviation consumer protection?
  • Which jurisdictions other than the US and EU have joined in the stampede for consumer protection, and what are the conflicting requirements imposed upon airlines?
  • Do these regulations conflict with the exclusivity provisions of the Warsaw and Montreal Conventions?  Was the EU Court of Justice wrong in finding no conflict?
  • What do new regulations require for advertising, sales, and promotions?
  • What is the gravity of liability exposure for airlines under the tarmac delay rules?
  • How do policy makers and security personnel resolve the conflict between intrusive aviation security procedures and personal privacy?
  • Should ICAO harmonize conflicting consumer protection laws?
  • How do airlines with financial difficulties address consumer claims?
  • How do States enforce consumer protection obligations?
  • Is Brexit slowing EU aviation regulatory momentum?
  • Will the Trump Administration roll back aviation regulations?


Paul Fitzgerald – Canadian Transportation Agency, Ottawa, Canada

Martine De Serres – Air Canada, Montreal, Canada
Kenneth Quinn – Baker McKenzie LLP, Washington, DC, USA
Steven Truxal – University of London, London, UK

13:00   Adjournment

*  invited, not yet confirmed

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