National Enforcement Bodies do not need to enforce the Regulation

In Europe all airlines must abide by the same rules regarding passenger rights, better known as the EC Regulation 261/2004. The Raad van State (Dutch Administrative Supreme Court) requested an advice from the Advocate-General concerning Article 16 ‘Infringements’ of the Regulation.

Article 16 – Infringements

Each country in Europe has a designated body responsible for the enforcement of the Regulation regarding flights from airports situated on its territory and flights from a third country to such airports. In the Netherlands this enforcement body is the ‘Inspectie Leefomgeving en Transport (ILT)’. The ILT is responsible for ensuring that airlines are adhering to the EU-Regulation and if they do not, they are allowed to impose sanctions.

The Raad van State has requested advice concerning the obligation of the national enforcement body to take implementing measures in individual cases to guarantee a passenger’s right to compensation. Is the national enforcement required to act in each individual complaint from an airline passenger and force an airline to pay financial compensation?

Advice C 145/15 and C 146/15

Advocate-General Yves Bot published his advice regarding the preliminary questions from the Raad van State today. National enforcement bodies such as the ILT, are not obliged to enforce the Regulation in individual cases. From the wording of Article 16 of the Regulation it does not read that a national enforcement body must take action in individual cases to ensure that the airline pays a financial compensation. Furthermore, if national enforcement bodies were allowed to judge subjectively, individual cases this would ultimately result in different interpretation of the Regulation per organization and country.

This advise will be taken into account in the judgment of this case by the European Court of Justice concerning Article 16 of the EC Regulation 261/2004. As has been the case in the past, the advice will most certainly be leading in the final decision, as has been the case in the past.

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