Germany

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Conference on latest developments in European Travel Law at ERA in Trier, Dec. 5-6, 2013

The Academy of European Law (ERA) will be holding a conference on the latest developments in European Travel Law in Trier (Germany) on Dec. 5-6, 2013. The objective of this conference is to analyse the existing legislative framework in the field of travel law at EU level and proposals for reform, focusing on package travel and air passengers’ rights. The conference language is English. The key topics of the conference include:

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CJEU: Including fingerprints in passports is lawful

Mr Schwarz applied to the Stadt Bochum (city of Bochum, Germany) for a passport, but refused at that time to have his fingerprints taken. After the city rejected his application, Mr Schwarz brought an action before the Verwaltungsgericht Gelsenkirchen (Administrative Court, Gelsenkirchen, Germany) in which he requested that the city be ordered to issue him with a passport without taking his fingerprints. Regulation No 2252/2004 provides that passports are to include a highly secure storage medium which must contain, besides a facial image, two fingerprints.

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German Supreme Court: "bird strike" constitutes "extraordinary cicumstances"

In judgements issued yesterday in two parallel cases, the German Supreme Court (BGH) has held that a bird strike constitutes extraordinary circumstances and thus exempts the air carrier from the obligation to pay compensation to the passengers in case of a cancellation or a long delay if the air carrier can prove that it had taken all reasonable measures to avoid the cacellation or delay. The Supreme Court argued that bird strikes were unforeseeable and unforstallable events for air carriers.

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Germany: Supreme Court reconfirms compensation for missed connecting flight

In a recent judgment, the German Supreme Court (BGH) reconfirmed that passengers who miss their connecting flight due to a delay of the feeder are entitled to claim for compensation if they reach their final destination 3 hrs or more after their scheduled arrival. The plaintiffs had booked a flight from Miami to Düsseldorf via Madrid. As the departure in Miami was delayed for 01:20 hrs they arrived in Madrid too late to catch their connecting flight to Düsseldorf. They were rebooked to another flight and reached Düsseldorf with a delay of 07:30 hrs.

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German court requests ECJ preliminary ruling with regard to passport data

The German Verwaltungsgerichtshof Baden-Württemberg has filed a reference for preliminary ruling to the ECJ regarding interpretation of Regulation (EC) No 2252/2004 on standards for security features and biometrics in passports and travel documents issued by Member States. The reference includes the following questions:

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German Supreme Court asks ECJ for interpretation of article 12 of Reg. 261/2004

In a recent reference for ECJ preliminary ruling, the German Supreme Court (BGH) has asked for an interpreation of article 12 of the Air Passenger Rights Regulation 261/2004. This article provides that the Regulation shall apply without prejudice to a passenger's rights to further compensation but that the compensation granted under this Regulation may be deducted from such further compensation.

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German court asks ECJ to clarify offsetting rules in Air Passenger Rights Regulation

A German Regional Court, the "Landgericht Frankfurt am Main", has filed a reference for preliminary ruling to the European Court of Justice asking for interpretation of article 12 of Reg. 261/2004/EC as follows:

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German Supreme Court: air passengers entitled to compensation for missed connecting flight

The passengers were booked on an Iberia flight from Berlin via Madrid to San José (Costa Rica). The flight from BER to MAD was about 90 minutes delayed and the passengers therefore missed their connecting flight to SJO. They were rebooked to a flight one day later. Upon return they claimed for compensation pursuant to Reg. 261/2004.

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CJEU: "Sturgeon" judgement did not infringe the principle of separation of powers

In its so called "Sturgeon" judgement (joined cases C-402/07 and C-432/07) the CJEU had extended the air carriers' obligation to pay compensation to passengers who reached their final destination only 3 hrs or more after the scheduled arrival time even if their flight wasn't cancelled but only delayed. Upon reference for preliminary ruling filed by a German Regional Court (LG Köln), the Court has now decided that there is no contradiction between the "Sturgeon" judgement and the principle of separation of powers.

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Germany: Supreme court decides on malperformance of Greenland cruise

A 14 days cruise "Summer in Greenland" was performed differently from what it had been sold: the route was different, several shore leaves were cancelled, the duration of other shore leaves was significantly reduced. Because of petrol of poor quality, the engine power was reduced and the visits to the Faeroe Islands and the Orkney Islands had to be cancelled. The respective days were spent on open sea instead. Some passengers therefore decided to terminate the trip in Reykjavik and returned back home on their own.

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