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Martes, 09 Septiembre 2014 00:00

Law is in the air

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A lawyer who specialised in avation law tells us all about his business.

The summer is ending and so is the holiday season. Many of you may have taken a plane to and from your vacation destination, and maybe your lawyer's mind was already drifting to the legal aspects around the big machine that was allowing you to fly through the air. This sounds like the daily routine of Francisco Olid (EJ Spain), a lawyer from Sevilla who has become a specialist in aviation law.

"I can work on litigations between passengers and airway companies", Francisco says, "and advise customers about it. If your claim does not even reach a thousand euros, it may not be worth initiating a procedure, but above this it may be interesting". Francisco explains that most of the regulations on this matter are standardised by the Montreal convention and thus pretty much the same rules apply everywhere in the world. "We also have a lot of cases related to hiring a plane. Many companies want to sometimes charter a plane for an event or a special trip, and they may ask me because they do not know how to do that properly".

It seems to be a tricky world: Francisco had to face litigations on very expensive failures to provide a good service. "I had a case recently of a company who paid hundreds of thousands of euros to charter a plane to South America. Then they realised this plane did not have the right to land in this country and was redirected to another airport where they had to take another plane to reach their final destination. Such a case is a disaster for the customer".

However, the main part of aviation law regards not the people who use planes, but those who build them. The famous aircraft builder Airbus is responsible for a lot of Francisco's work, albeit indirectly. As a reminder, Airbus is based in three cities: Hannover, Montpellier, and Sevilla, where Francisco is based. "Airbus works with a lot of companies who are based in these three cities, and these companies in turn employ much smaller companies who form most of my customership. These companies are very high technology and there is a paradox in them: they are extremely skilled and effective in their technological field, but they remain a small group of specialists whose knowledge of legal issues is very limited. Some do not even realise they need legal advice until it is too late. I am here to provide them with the legal support of a big company". These small hi-tech businesses are very international by nature "Sometimes, their website is only in English, they do not even offer a Spanish version!"

Francisco was attracted by the world of aviation law because of his taste for international law and his good practice of the English language, but there is more. In an era where specialisation has become an important thing for many lawyers, he made the decision to enter a field of expertise. "I was at first very much interested in contractual law, and even if there are also cases of litigations, contractual cases remain the most important in aviation law. So I knew it was the right field for me".


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

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