The recovery period for damages brought under Article 35 of the Montreal Convention 1999 is two years: if an action against an airline is not brought within two years from the date referred to in the article, the action is extinguished. Furthermore, a case for the recovery of damages not filed within that period will become time-barred by the referred statute of limitation. Article 35(2) of the convention establishes that the method of calculating such period shall be determined by the law of the court charged with ruling on the case.

However, this two-year limit is not always guaranteed. In Argentina, the statute of limitation set forth in Article 35 may be interrupted, delayed or postponed through the Mediation Law (26.589/2010). Article 18 of the law sets forth that a mediation hearing called by claimants to recover damages based on the convention may cause the time limitation to be suspended, in cases of either prescription or caducity. Under the continental system, both terms differ in their legal consequences.

The time limitation will resume 20 days after conclusion of the mediation hearing process. Claimants must therefore start the complaint in court no later than 20 days after a mediation process has been closed without settlement.

The wording of Article 18 contrasts with international jurisprudence precedent, which has found that in accordance with Article 35 of the convention, the two-year term in which compensation can be sought cannot be interrupted, delayed or postponed.

For further information on this topic please contact Elizabeth Mireya Freidenberg at Freidenberg Freidenberg & Lifsic by telephone (+54 11 4311 4991), fax (+54 11 4311 0852) or email ([email protected]).