At Palma Airport.

06-09-2020Cristina Macaya

The courts in Palma were closed for some eighty days during the state of alarm. As a consequence, the number of cases registered with the courts fell by around a half during the first six months of the year.

However, there was a notable exception when it came to claims against airlines. Between January and June 2019, some 2,400 claims were registered with the commercial courts. Over the same period this year, the number was around 2,800. The increase was provoked by flight cancellations and issues regarding refunds.

Claims against airlines have gone up in recent years, and the number present problems for the commercial court in terms of handling the volume. The procedures, however, are relatively straightforward. Lawyers aren't normally needed, and the majority of claims are small. As well as delays and cancellations, there are claims for lost luggage and refusing to allow people to board planes without justification.

The amounts are typically no more than around 400 euros. Exceptions are for the value of lost luggage and the cost of long-haul flights. Airlines will often delay paying out until there is a court procedure, by which time many claimants drop their demands. There are other cases which fail to get anywhere because formal procedures for their presentation are not made correctly.

The commercial courts have otherwise yet to note a significant increase in the number of businesses filing for bankruptcy, but an increase is anticipated because of the impact of the Covid crisis.

In other courts, there have been decreases in the numbers of cases. The courts of instruction, for example, are dealing with 4,000 fewer cases. The social court has yet to experience a rise - one that can perhaps be expected because of claims related to the crisis.

In any event, August was a quiet month for the courts, as they were operating at minimum levels because of holidays.

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