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Airbus Industrie V. Patel Notes

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FACTS The proceedings in question have arisen from a very serious air crash which occurred
at Bangalore airport on 14 February 1990. An Airbus A­320 aircraft crashed when
coming in to land. Many of the passengers died and the remainder were injured.
Among the passengers on board were two families of Indian origin who were British
citizens with homes in London. Four of them were killed, and the remaining four were
injured. They are, or are represented by, the six defendants in the appeal now before
your Lordships' House. Following the publication in December 1990 of the report of a
court of inquiry in India, in which the cause of the crash was identified as error on the
part of the pilots (both of whom were killed in the crash), claims were made by
solicitors acting for the defendants, their primary claim being against Indian Airlines
Corporation ("I.A.C."), the employers of the pilots. When it appeared that these
claims would not be settled within the two­year time­limit for such proceedings in
India, proceedings were commenced in India on 12 February 1992 against I.A.C., and
also against Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. ("H.A.L."), the airport authority at Bangalore
airport… Little progress was been made in the proceedings against H.A.L.
Meanwhile in February 1992 the defendants also commenced proceedings in Texas,
where they sued a number of parties who might have had some connection with the
aircraft or its operation. These included the plaintiff company, Airbus Industrie G.I.E.
("Airbus"), which designed and assembled the aircraft at Toulouse in France. Similar
proceedings were brought in Texas in respect of three American passengers who died
in the same crash. The two sets of proceedings were later consolidated. In response to
these proceedings in Texas, on 21 November 1992 Airbus brought proceedings in the
Bangalore City Civil Court against, inter alia, the defendants and the American
claimants, and on 22 April 1995 the presiding judge made a number of orders
designed to deter the defendants in those proceedings (i.e. the defendants and the
American claimants) from pursuing their claims in Texas. These included a
declaration that the defendants were not entitled to proceed against Airbus in any
court in the world other than in India/Bangalore, and an injunction which purported to
restrain the defendants from claiming damages from Airbus in any court in the world
except the courts in India/Bangalore. However, since the defendants were not within
the Indian jurisdiction, the injunction had little deterrent effect. Airbus then issued an originating summons in this country with the purpose of (1)
enforcing the Bangalore judgment against the defendants, and (2) obtaining an
injunction from the English High Court restraining the defendants, who are resident in
England, from continuing with their action against Airbus in Texas on the grounds
that pursuit of that action by the defendants would be contrary to justice and/or
vexatious or oppressive. HOLDING LORD GOFF Argument: At the forefront of the defendants' case before the Appellate Committee
was the submission that, where England is not the natural forum for the trial of the

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