Compensation for the prejudice resulting from an aircraft arrest

trans0361The Cour de Casation recently rules that the wrongfull arrest of an aircraft may give rise to compensation when this results in the prejudice (1).

In this case, AAS, a company specialised in airlines assistance, had a debt of almost euros 30,000 against a German airline company. Despite numerous request to pay, AAS obtained from a Judge the authorization to proceed with a conservatory arrest of an aircraft of the airline to guarantee payment.

However, the aircraft finally arrested was not the property of the airline!

The airline was then held to pay the debt. However, the company decided to refer the matter to the Cour de Cassation, as the Court of appeal rejected its claim for damages for such a wrongful arrest.

Indeed, the airline informed AAS two days after the arrest that it did not own the aircraft. Yet, AAS delayed the discharge of the conservatory arrest of the aircraft.

The Cour de Cassation infirmed the Court of appeal decision. It considers that the Court of appeal should have examined whether the resistance of AAS to allow the discharge the arrest after being informed of the real owner of the aircraft constituted a fault. For the Court, such a fault does not have to be intentional. If a fault is then constituted, the creditor shall have to indemnify the airline. 

(1) Cass. civ. 2, 5 janvier 2017, n°15-21651