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CJEU: Venue for contractual disputes by air crew

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Is the nomination of a "home base" for air crew the deciding factor in establishing the place of habitual work for jurisdiction purposes? No, held the CJEU in the joined cases of Nogueira andOrs v Crewlink and Osacar v Ryanair.

The Brussels I Regulation governs jurisdiction in the EU. The weaker party should be protected by the rules (Recital 13).

An employer may be sued in the Member State where the employee habitually carries out work or the place where the business is situated. It can be changed by agreement only once a dispute has arisen.

An aircraft has the nationality of the state where it is registered. Airlines nominate a "home base" for crew, usually but not always the place where shifts start and end.

The CJEU held that a jurisdiction clause cannot be applied exclusively and so as to prohibit proceedings being brought in the state where the employee habitually works. The concept of a habitual place of work is a long-established and essential criterion which cannot be derogated from. Article 19 requires a broad interpretation to avoid any circumvention strategy that disadvantages a claimant.


Thanks to Karen Jackson of didlaw for preparing this case summary