Programme of the 11th Annual McGill Conference on International Aviation Liability, Insurance & Finance (2018)

Programme of the 11th Annual McGill Conference on International Aviation Liability, Insurance & Finance (2018)

PDF version of the programme (31 August 2018)

  • FRIDAY 19 OCTOBER 2018

8:15 – 9:00


9:00 – 10:00

Recent Developments in Air Carrier Liability

  • Comparative Analysis of Recent Warsaw and Montreal Convention Jurisprudence in Europe, the US, Latin America and Asia/Pacific
  • Applicability of the 261/2004 EU regulation to non-EU carriers
  • Update on the “extraordinary circumstances” defense: recent EU Jurisprudence
  • Recent Aviation Disaster Litigation
  • Conflicts Between U.S. and European Courts
  • The Challenges of Achieving Global Uniformity

Chair:  Paul Stephen Dempsey – McGill University, Montreal, Canada


  1. Luiz Eduardo Arena Alvarez– Arena Alvarez Advogados – Sao Paulo
  2. Jeanne O’Grady – Speiser Krause, New York
  3. Jorge Góngora - Góngora Reina & Associates, Bogotá
  4. Andrew Harrington – Norton White, Sydney
  5. Rebecca Smith - Irwin Mitchell LLP, London

10:00 – 11:00

Liability of Manufacturers of Aircraft and Component Parts

  • Does governmental certification preempt tort claims?
  • What are 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?

Chair: Heather Devine – Isaacs & Co., Toronto


  1. Stephen Coxhead - Fowler White Burnett, Miami 
  2. David Weiner – Arnold & Porter, Houston
  3. Vonnick Le Guillou – DLA Piper, Paris 
  4. Brandt Madsen – SmithAmundsen, Chicago
  5. Zhang Chaohan – Northwest University of Political Science & Law, Xi’an

11:00 – 11:20

Refreshment Break

11:20 – 12:20

Liability of Governments for Aviation Accidents and Acts of Terrorism

  • Sovereign Immunity
  • The US Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act and the Federal Tort Claims Act
  • The 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?
  • Under what circumstances 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

Chair: Jim Morris – Ashfords, London 


  1. Alisa Brodkowitz – Friedman Rubin, Seattle
  2. Jim Kreindler – Kreindler & Kreindler, New York

12:20 – 13:40


13:40 – 14:40

Liability of Airports, ANSPs and Maintenance Providers

  • Liability of airports for passenger injury
  • The contractual liability of the airport operator
  • Cyber Security: Airport risk and liability
  • Implementation of the data protection EU 2016/679 Regulation
  • Airport operation risks, related liability and insurance program
  • The lessor and manufacturer liability, latest developments
  • Liability of lessors under the principle of negligent entrustment
  • Liability of maintenance providers

Chair: Jean-Michel Fobe – Sybarius Advocates, Brussels


  1. Adrian Cioranu – EUROCAE, Paris
  2. Isabelle Lelieur - Chevrier & Associés, Paris
  3. Ann-Frederique Pothier – Eurocontrol, Brussels (TBC)
  4. Valérie Augros - Avocat à la Cour, Paris

14:40 – 15:50

Court Is in Session:  Analyzing the Importance of Trial in Aviation Accident Cases

  • Choice of Jurisdiction: Trial Considerations
  • Comparative Fault and Joint Liability
  • Admissibility of Government Investigations and Criminal Proceedings
  • Time to Trial and Cost
  • Trial, Strategy, and Verdict – Judge vs. Jury
  • Using “The Threat” of Trial in Settlement Negotiation

Chair: Robert Hedrick - Aviation Law Group, Seattle

Panel Speakers:

  1. Robert A. Clifford – Clifford Law Offices, Chicago 
  2. Sigrid Preissl – Bourayne & Preissl, Paris   
  3. Gerard Forlin QC – Cornerstone Barristers, London 
  4. Joe Fiorante – Camp, Fiorante, Matthews, Vancouver   

15:50 – 16:10

Refreshment Break

16:10 – 17:30

Aviation Litigation in Ireland: How It Works

  • Irish Legal Issues relating to aviation liability and insurance
  • PIAB (statutory scheme for personal injury),
  • Coroners Inquests after the Norfolk Coroner Judicial Review case
  • SAR operations

Chair: James Healy-Pratt – Stewarts Law LLP, London 


  1. Kieran Cowhey - Dillon Eustace, Dublin
  2. Simon McAleese – McAleese & Co., Dublin
  3. Patrick McGurgan – Coroner, Belfast

18:00 – 19:30 

Gala Reception and Dinner

Keynote Speaker:

Stephen Kavanagh, CEO Aer Lingus

“An unparalleled degree of comfort, refinement and privacy at the heart of Dublin since 1840”


9 S t Stephen's Green, Dublin 2



Air Carrier Liability: What is an “Accident”, and What Damages are Recoverable under the Warsaw/Montreal Conventions

  • Review of recent court decisions on what constitutes accident and bodily injury.
  • To what extent are courts permitting recovery for emotional and mental injuries?
  • How courts treat medical emergencies in flight?
  • Review of recent court decisions on the scope of (dis)embarkation.
  • Should the carrier be liable for passenger-to-passenger assaults?
  • Should the carrier be liable for occurrences that are not related to the operation of the aircraft?
  • What will be the liability exposure of crew and/or air marshals who subdue an unruly passenger?

Chair: George Leloudas – Swansea University


  1. Simon Balls - Kennedys, London  
  2. Michel F. Baumeister - Baumeister & Samuels, P.C., New York
  3. Andrew Harakas – Clyde & Co., New York
  4. Mark K. Schwartz - Driggers, Schultz & Herbst, PC, Troy, Michigan 


The Challenges of Aircraft Leasing and Finance

  • Smart choices in aircraft investment – asset types and jurisdictional risk
  • Monitoring the Cape Town Convention – scoring compliance by member States
  • The future of export credit and financing
  • Expunging clogs in the title and other interventions: how the Irish High Court keeps watch on the Cape Town international registry
  • Subsidies and State aid: updates on the GATT, Airbus-Bombardier and other recent flashpoints

Chair: Brian F. Havel – McGill University, Montreal


  1. Catherine Duffy – A&L Goodbody, Dublin
  2. Donald Gray- Blakes & Company, Toronto
  3. Donal Patrick Hanley – ACG Aircraft Leasing Ireland Limited, Dublin
  4. Richard Sharman – Clifford Chance, London
  5. Serap Zuvin - Cakmak Law Offices, Istanbul


 Refreshment Break

11:50 -13:00

Aviation Litigation in the United States: How it Works

  • Conflict of Laws
  • Venue
  • Forum Non Conveniens
  • Jury Trials
  • Appeals

Chair: Patricia Barlow – Barlow Law, San Francisco


  1. Stuart Fraenkel – Nelson & Fraenkel LLP, Los Angeles 
  2. Christopher Knight – Fowler White Burnett, Miami   
  3. Kevin Sutherland - Clyde & Co., San Francisco

13:00-14:00  Lunch

14:00 - 15:30

The Challenges of Settlement Negotiation & Emerging Insurance Issues

  • The Challenges of Multi-Jurisdictional Settlements in Complex International Aviation Litigation Against Multiple Tortfeasors
  • Settlement Complications in Cases Involving Long-Missing Commercial Aircraft
  • Settlement/Payment Difficulties Due to Sanctions and International Trade Controls
  • Use of “Structured Settlements”
  • Emerging Insurance Issues (e.g., Acts of Terrorism, Conflict Zones, Cyber Security)

Chair: Alan Reitzfeld – Retired Senior Partner, Holland & Knight, New York


  1. Anna Anatolitou – Ince & Co., London
  2. Martin Blake – Juris Resolutions, Dublin
  3. Steven C. Marks – Podhurst Orseck PA, Miami
  4. Anna Masutti – LexJus Sinacta, Milan
  5. Suzanne McCarthy– Global Aerospace, New Jersey