A judge sitting at the County Court at Liverpool on 25 February 2015 denied applications made by a number of airlines for stays to claims brought under Regulation (EC) 261/2004 (‘Reg. 261’).
In a reserved judgment, District Judge Jenkinson rejected applications made by Jet2.com, Wizz Air and Ryanair for stays of a number of Reg.261 claims pending the outcome of a preliminary reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in a Dutch case called Van der Lans v Koninklijke Lutchvaart Maatschappij NV (‘KLM’) (C-257/14) (‘Van der Lans’).
The airlines had argued that they would be prejudiced in not staying the claims until the CJEU had clarified the applicability of their defences raised in respect of flights that were delayed or cancelled due to technical difficulties experienced by the aircrafts in question.
The claimant passengers had argued that the applicability of such defences had been resolved by the Court of Appeal in the case of Jet2.com Limited v Ronald Huzar  EWCA Civ 791 (‘Huzar’), to which the Supreme Court had refused Jet2.com permission to appeal.
District Judge Jenkinson determined that, in acting in accordance with the Overriding Objective to deal with cases justly, the applications must be dismissed as the greater prejudice lay with the passengers in having their claims put on hold until the CJEU gave a ruling.
In summary, the reasons for his decision were as follows:
It remains to be seen whether the airlines in question will now defend the claims on the basis of distinguishing Huzar from the present claims, or accept defeat and settle the majority of claims concerning technical difficulties.
Link to Judgment: Allen v Jet2