AuthorJohn D. Holding, Q.C., MRAeS
On 4 November 2003, the Montreal Convention of 1999 came into
force. This historic date marked the cu lmination of many years of
effort in conferences and negotiations intended to reform and consoli-
date the law of international air carriage which had existed since 1933
under the old Warsaw system.
Thirty-one nations were parties to the Montreal Convention when
it came into force. This number rose to f‌ift y-two by 6 June 2004, on
which date the nations of the European Union, including the United
Kingdom, implemented the treaty, and has since risen to seventy-f‌ive.
This leaves, however, seventy other nations governed by the Warsaw
Convention amended at The Hague, and another f‌ifteen nations still
governed by the unamended Warsaw treaty. The current status, there-
fore, continues as two parallel systems of international law; the War-
saw system consisting of the original convention, a supplementary
convention and several amending protocols, and t he Montreal Con-
vention intended to consolidate, reform, and supersede the Warsaw
system. T he law governing a particular contract of carriage may be
either one of t hose two systems, depending on the nations involved;
and if the Warsaw system governs, any or all of the conventions and
protocols within that system may govern, again depending on the na-
tions involved in the carriage.
In the United Kingdom, by EU regulation the Montreal Conven-
tion now applies to all passenger carriage by airlines licensed by EU
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