Sweden – Cases

Court: Supreme Court of Sweden
Reference: NJA s 597
Date of judgment: 11 November 1993

Aviation Ordinance – Prior permission to use a site for take-off and landing

This was a criminal case concerning a minor offence under the Aviation Ordinance, commenced by the public prosecutor against the helicopter pilot P. On the 22 to 24 December 1989, while herding reindeer by helicopter, P had allegedly without prior permission by the police authority used a particular plot of land within the built-up area of the municipality for take-off and landing and had neglected to follow the conditions prescribed by the local police authorities regarding choice of location for takeoff and landing.

The Supreme Court, unlike the courts at first and second instance, dismissed the case. The revised version of the provision in question, which entered into force in 1990, did contain a penalty provision, but the provision now required only consultation with rather than permission from the police prior to take-off and landing.

 

Court: Supreme Court of Sweden
Reference: NJA 1985 s 668
Date of judgment: 23 October 1985

Aviation Act 1957 – Whether commercial aviation

The question in this criminal case was whether the defendant had practiced commercial aviation without the requisite permit. The defendant’s case was that the three flights in question had been unremunerated favours for friends, and in one case that he had not been the pilot. The Supreme Court reversed the acquittals of the lower courts in respect of one flight, for which the defendant had issued an invoice in his own name. It was unlikely that the defendant had had as little involvement in the flight as he claimed, given the invoice. The statute provided no definition of ‘commercial’ aviation, but it was clear that individual flights could be subject to permission. In respect of the other two flights, the first had been invoiced but at a loss, and it appeared that the defendant’s primary purpose was to maintain his certification for the type of aircraft in question. The final flight was never invoiced but the costs were shared between the participants.

 

Court: Supreme Court of Sweden
Reference: NJA 1985 s 561
Date of judgment: 4 September 1985

Act on liability for damage arising from air traffic 1922 – Time bar

The claimant sought compensation for personal injury and loss suffered as a result of aviation activity on 18 April 1972, when two aircraft belonging to the Air Force had flown over the claimant’s home, causing her hearing loss. She had in an earlier judgment in 1975 been awarded compensation for the loss of hearing and by this suit, submitted on 2 June 1982 also sought compensation for loss of income from 1977 to 1981. The Act on liability for damage arising from air traffic 1922 contained a time bar of two years. The defendant, the State, argued that the application was time barred because no reservation had been made in the earlier judgment. The claimant argued that the earlier litigation had stopped time running. The Supreme Court, like the lower courts, dismissed the claim, holding that in the absence of a reservation of rights in respect of loss of income, time had been running.

 

Court: Supreme Court of Sweden
Reference: NJA 1984 s 780
Date of judgment: 22 November 1984

Chicago Convention 1944 – Aviation Act 1957 – Commercial aviation – Scheduled air services – Significance of ICAO definition in the interpretation of domestic provisions

G, the director of a small aviation business was prosecuted for breach of chapter 7 section 1 of the Aviation Act 1957 because the company had been carrying out scheduled air services rather than non-scheduled flights. The company did have a permit for non-scheduled flights but not for scheduled air services. G admitted that the flights had been conducted according to a clear pattern, if not a schedule, and that they had been carried out for commercial purposes. The main issue was therefore of the impact of the definition of scheduled air services adopted by ICAO in 1952 to clarify articles 5 and 6 of the Chicago Convention 1944. This definition included a criterion that scheduled air services should be open to members of the public, which was absent from Swedish legislation and regulations. The Supreme Court relied on the definition of ICAO and accepted the condition that in order to be deemed scheduled air services, the flights should be open to members of the public, which on the evidence they had been. A fine was imposed on G.

 

Court: Supreme Court
Reference: NJA 1983 s 836
Date of judgment: 15 December 1983

Act on liability for damage arising from air traffic 1922 – Time bar – Military aviation subject to the Act – Claim not time barred

The claimants were homeowners seeking compensation from the State. They argued that their home had been damaged by a sonic boom resulting from military aviation activity on 13 April 1977. The claim had been brought on the grounds of (1) general principles of tort law and (2) in respect of vicarious liability for the State’s employees under the general Tortious Liability Act 1972, but the defendant (the State) raised as a preliminary issue the two-year time bar in section 6 of the Act on liability for damage arising from air traffic 1922. The Supreme Court held that the claim was not time barred. It held that the 1922 Act was applicable to military aviation; however the time bar in section 6 was not an exclusive provision that applied to any form of liability. Claims based on general principles of tortious liability or on the 1972 Act were not subject to the time bar of the 1922 Act. The provision in the Tortious Liability Act on vicarious liability had been enacted subsequent to the 1922 Act. The strict liability in the 1922 Act and accompanying short time bar should not defeat the subsequently enacted provision on a different form of liability, namely vicarious liability. Nor should it defeat a claim based on general principles of strict liability for dangerous military activities.

 

Image: Tim Beach / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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