The Practical Lawyer


Ryanair – can bypass solicitors

The CA has held that Ryanair is entitled to deal with passenger claims directly and does not have to involve or pay solicitors who may have assisted in the claims.

The problems caused to passengers by delays and strikes at Ryanair are well documented. Ryanair’s T&Cs require passengers seeking compensation to deal directly with the airline which has 28 days to respond before a third party can be instructed. Bott & Co handles a large volume of claims against Ryanair but the airline decided to settle the claims directly with the clients. This meant that Bott & Co lost the chance to deduct its fees from the compensation and experienced difficulty in recovering fees from its clients.

The firm brought an action against Ryanair arguing that its clause requiring claimants to go through its process first was unlawful and that the firm was entitled to an equitable lien in relation to its fees.

The claim failed. The CA noted that the method of applying for compensation direct with Ryanair was ‘largely mechanical and formulaic’ and the court could not see that Bott & Co’s processing of claims was vastly different and did not amount to ‘litigation services’. Further their involvement did not ‘promote access to justice’.

The decision could have a significant impact on firms that handle low-value litigation claims. See Bott & Co v Ryanair [2019] EWCA Civ 143.


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