In the joint trial of Extraordinary Appeal 636.331 and the bill of review in Extraordinary Appeal 766.618, a majority of the Supreme Court ruled that the rules and international treaties limiting the liability of passenger airline carriers – in particular, the Warsaw and Montreal Conventions – prevail over the Consumer Protection Code.

This decision was based on Article 178 of the Constitution, which determines that:

"The law will set forth provisions on the ordering of air, waterway, and land transportations, and should observe, as regards the ordering of the international transport, the agreements entered into by the Federal Government, taking into account the principle of reciprocity."

With the decision, the value of compensation for lost luggage will be limited to the threshold set out in Article 22 of the Warsaw Convention and the amendments made by subsequent international agreements.

Another relevant alteration is the statutory period for claiming damages suffered by passengers. According to the Montreal Convention (successor of the Warsaw Convention), this period is two years, while the Consumer Protection Code states that passengers have five years to claim damages.

Although the decision relates only to international conventions in relation to air transportation, the Supreme Court's stance will likely apply to all internal legislation, including in respect with maritime disputes when the domestic law would conflict with the international conventions.

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For further information on this topic please contact Godofredo Mendes Vianna or Bernardo Silva de Senna at Kincaid | Mendes Vianna Advogados by telephone (+55 21 2276 6200) or email (godofredo@kincaid.com.br or bernardo.senna@kincaid.com.br). The Kincaid | Mendes Vianna Advogados website can be accessed at www.kincaid.com.br.