The aviation industry has suffered another court defeat after an appeal judge ruled claims can be made up to six years after a flight delay.

The Court of Appeal yesterday handed down its judgment in Dawson v Thomson Airways, rejecting the airline’s appeal against the award of compensation to a passenger.

The claimant had been delayed by six hours on a flight from Gatwick to the Dominican Republic and claimed £480. He started his claim just before the six-year limitation period, established under section nine of the Limitation Act 1980, had expired. The airline accepted it would have been liable to make the payment if he had brought proceedings in time.

Thomson argued that the Montreal Convention had established a two-year time limit for bringing proceedings. But Lord Justice Moor-Bick said the time limit, according to the European Court, should be determined in accordance with the rules of each individual country, with regulation in this case falling outside the convention.

The decision represented a second High Court win in a week for north-west firm Bott & Co, which represented Dawson. Last week the firm won a case where the court ruled there were no exceptional circumstances to justify a passenger’s 27-hour delay. The airline, Jet2, plans to take the case to the Supreme Court.

David Bott, senior partner at Bott & Co (pictured) said: ‘This has been a great week for air passengers’ rights and we are delighted to have been involved in two huge victories for consumers. It has been superb to take these two issues to the Court of Appeal and clarify regulations that fundamentally affect hundreds of thousands of people on a yearly basis.’

Bott hailed the firm’s move into flight delay claims – made as a direct consequence on the restrictions and income cuts affecting the personal injury sector – had been successful so far, with attention now focused on further expansion of practice areas.

‘In the face of huge changes in the personal injury space we decided some time ago that Bott and Company had to diversify,’ he added.  ‘We chose a niche which complemented our IT skills and fitted in with our passion for claimant and consumer rights. We hope that this consumer niche will be the first of many that we expand into.’