International air carrier liability under Nigerian law has, for some time past, been shrouded in uncertainty because of the ambivalence with which Nigerian courts applied the Warsaw Convention 1929 as regards its exclusivity or otherwise, vis–à–vis actions and remedies. Consequently, it was hoped that the Montreal Convention 1999, which expressly forbids the application of national laws to international air carriage claims would ameliorate the situation. Unfortunately, the passage of the Civil Aviation Act 2006, which gives the Montreal Convention the force of law in Nigeria, also repealed the Warsaw Convention.
This article discusses the liability regime under Nigerian law as it stood prior to the Act and the vacuum which has now been created by the repeal of the Warsaw Convention, which means that where the departing or destination country is not a signatory to the Montreal Convention, Nigeria’s national laws must be applied. The article further analyzes pertinent parts of the language of the Montreal Convention and its travaux préparatoires and argues that the provision which robs the Warsaw Convention of the force of law ought to be repealed immediately.Air and Space Law