The area covered by the lecture is Trots in Aviation Law. The various topics covered in the lecture for include Strict Liability in consideration with Civil Aviation regulations, duties of a pilot in flight and pre-flight, duties of the air traffic controller, duties of the maintenance engineer, the three categories of trespass, and nuisance.
The elements of the lecture cover the duties of the pilot including responsibilities of a pilot in command of an aircraft, responsibilities before the actual commencement of the flight, analysis of pre-flight data, safety of passengers, safety of cargo, safety of crewmembers, keeping information on the flight path, and weather conditions. The lecture emphasizes on the importance of strict liability in Australia. The elements that evoke strict liability explained in detail. The determination of physical element and fault element, the situations where a pilot will not be responsible for liability, the definitions of sections 10.1 and 10.3, duty of care of a pilot, roles and responsibilities of MATS, and general air traffic services. In addition, the lecture covers the circumstances of implication in liability cases. Two such scenarios are failure to warn pilots of known hazards, and failure to warn pilots of imminent danger. The care of duties for a maintenance engineer include sticking to process for maintenance checks, maintaining logs regularly, and report potential threats. The three trespass categories discussed in the lecture are trespass to person, trespass to land, and trespass to goods. Nuisance includes private and public nuisance.
The key cases discussed for the aviation laws are,
Seaman v Curtiss Flying Service – An airline crash in poor weather conditions brought about a lawsuit against the airlines. The plaintiff argued that the pilot was incompetent and the maintenance of the aircraft was questionable. The defendant disagreed and argued that the pilot only lacked proper judgment at the time of the accident. The aircraft was in perfect condition however; the presence of hostile weather brought the aircraft down. The jury acquitted the defendant contending that there was no intent to do harm and the court dismissed the negligence case.
Australian National Airlines Commission v The Commonwealth – This was a case of miscommunication between pilot and air traffic control. Instead of confirming a taxi clearance, the pilot misheard the instruction from the ATC and proceeded to taxi into a runway that was expecting a different airline. The resulting accident caused extensive damage. All defendants in this case were charged with negligence although their responsibility quotients differed (The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, “Aviation”).
Nichols v Simmonds – This case was an irony for two pilots whose planes were damaged on account of their collusion. The judge ruled that both pilots were negligent.
Skyways Pty Ltd and Navair Pty Ltd v Commonwealth – A tragic mid-air collision evolved into this lawsuit. The airline companies sued the ATC for negligence. The jury found the defendants guilty of negligence and for causing the mid-air collision.
Calarie v United States – The court found no negligence on part of the ATC in this case since the death of the pilot was caused by turbulence from a larger aircraft in the vicinity.
Reynolds v Clarke – This case was a highlight in determining cases of trespass. The judge ruled that the plaintiff was entitled to damages since the defendant left a log precariously on the road which caused injury.
Police v Greaves – The defendant in this case indicated the intent to harm police officers and threatened them with a weapon. These actions confirmed the assault charges for the defendant.
Symes v Mahon – This case was an example for false imprisonment. A police officer fraudulently influenced an individual to accompany him on the pretext of making a genuine arrest. The court ruled in favor of the plaintiff.
Sayers v Harlow UDC – The plaintiff was trapped in a toilet on account of a faulty door lock. The court ruled that the interpretation of the plaintiff was incorrect since there was no direct intent to confine her to the toilet.
Snook v Mannion – This was a failed lawsuit for the plaintiff since he did not ask police officers to leave. The officers entered the plaintiff’s property. Instead of asking them to leave, the plaintiff verbally abused them. Hence, the court ruled in favor of the police officers.
Bernstein of Leigh (Baron) v Skyviews & General Ltd – This case brought clarity on the extent of ownership a property owner can have with respect to altitude. The property owner filed a trespass suit against a property promoter who took pictures of the plaintiff’s property from an aircraft. The court ruled that it is irrelevant since the aircraft was nowhere near the altitude where it may cause nuisance.
The key points to the lecture indicate that common law takes greater precedence over civil law for cases regarding trespass and nuisance. The ability to cause physical harm through assault and battery makes the case for criminal liability.
The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development. Aviation, 2014. Web. 31 January 2016.