This is an extract of our Messier Dowty V. Sabena document, which we sell as part of our Conflict of Laws BCL Notes collection written by the top tier of Oxford students.
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MESSIER DOWTY V. SABENA FACTS The proceedings follow from an Airbus A340 aircraft owned by Sabena being involved in an incident when landing at Brussels Airport on 29 August 1998. The incident was caused by the aircraft's starboard landing gear failing. Fortunately the injuries to those on board were slight but the aircraft and its starboard engine were extensively damaged. The loss caused by the failure of the landing gear, including losses sustained as a result of the aircraft being out of use while being repaired, is said to be about $US 50m. The aircraft was manufactured by the second defendant (Airbus). Airbus is a French economic entity registered under the laws of France. It is a consortium of European aircraft manufacturers. The British partner is the third defendant (BAA). The landing gear was designed and manufactured by successive members of the Dowty group of companies to whom I will refer collectively as 'Dowty'. Dowty and BAA are companies registered in this country. Sabena is a Belgian company. Contracts: The aircraft was supplied by Airbus to Sabena under a contract governed by French law. The contract contains an exclusive jurisdiction clause, which gives jurisdiction to the 'Tribunaux de Paris'. The contract relating to the design and supply of the landing gear states that it is made between BAA (the purchaser) and Dowty (the supplier). The contract recites that BAA is acting for and on behalf of Airbus. English law is the applicable law of the contract and the English courts are given exclusive jurisdiction. It is Dowty's contention that the faults in the landing gear were due to the failure of BAA and/or Airbus to provide data for the design and manufacture of the landing gear which was 'sufficiently demanding'. In particular the 'fatigue spectra' which was provided to Dowty by BAA did not indicate the need for what would be an adequate fatigue strength. Dowty contends that BAA owed a duty of care to Dowty as to the provision of the data. Proceedings by Sabena against Airbus and BAA in Paris: On 15 April 1999 Sabena made an application to the Tribunal de Commerce in Paris under art 145 of the new Civil Code. The application was for the appointment of a panel of experts to investigate and report on the causes of the incident on 15 April
1999. Dowty and Airbus were named as the defendants to the application. Proceedings in England by Dowty: On 30 April 1999 Dowty issued proceedings in the High Court. The claims made by Dowty in these proceedings were as follows:
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