The Federal High Court in Lagos Nigeria has ruled that Dana Air ought to have paid the statutory advance payment of US $30,000 to the families of the victims of its plane crash within 30 days of the accident. The court gave the decision in respect of the applications brought by 23 families of the victims of the Dana Air plane crash of June 3, 2012, in actions instituted on May 30th and June 2nd, 2014. It rejected arguments made on behalf of the insurers to the effect that it was incumbent upon the families to come forward to come forward to prove and claim their entitlement saying that the airline was under a duty to seek out the families in order to make payments to them. The court was told that at the time of the hearings, some of the families were yet to be paid their advance payments nearly three years after the air crash.
Four questions arose before the court on when and how the initial compensation of $30,000.00 should be made, who is liable to prove what, whether the total quantum of damages payable by the carrier is limited to $100,000.00 and what defence is available to the carrier. Idris J has now laid down clear precedent on these questions of law for future aviation claims in Nigerian Courts. In delivering his verdict Justice Idris found in favour of the Applicants on all the issues raised and ordered the reliefs as applied for thereby creating legal history at Nigerian law.
The applications were filed by a consortium of lawyers known as the Aviation Attorney Group led by Oba Nsugbe QC, SAN of Pump Court Chambers.
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Oba Nsugbe QC, SAN