Article 16 of the Athens Convention Relating to the Carriage of Passengers and their Luggage by Sea 1974 provides for a time-bar of two years on personal injury claims. Regulation 15(3) of the Package Holiday Regulations 1992 provides, “the contract may provide for compensation to be limited in accordance with the international conventions which govern such services”.
To interpret Regulation 15(3) as to have qualified and even effectively partially repealed the Athens Convention (to make exclusion provisions such as those contained in the Convention only apply where they are brought expressly to the notice of the consumer) would be to drive a coach and horses through the Athens Convention. House of Lords decision in Sidhu v British Airways ( A.C. 430) considered, the answer is to be found in the objects and structure of the Convention. The Athens Convention was intended to impose a uniform international system, and if the drafters of the Regulations had intended to effectively partially repeal the Convention, they would have said so in clear terms.
The fact that the Regulations incorporate a European Directive does not affect the standing of the Athens Convention. Sidhu again considered, it is not inconsistent with the obligations of the UK to accept the time bar of the Athens Convention. There is no conflict between the Athens Convention on time barred claims and the 1992 Regulations, as the 1992 Regulations do not deal with time bars and the Convention applies without need for any express reference.