Contentious Aviation Disputes

Ireland has a long and successful tradition in the aviation sector which spans over forty years. It occupies a leading role in global aviation and is a location of choice for lessors, with 9 of the top 10 global aircraft lessors having a significant presence in Ireland managing over 50% of the world’s commercial aircraft. 

The Irish aviation industry has benefited from continued government support, favourable tax treatment for finance and leasing companies and an extensive network of double taxation treaties.

Our lawyers have broad experience in the areas of civil aviation regulation and enforcement, aircraft competition law and antitrust, airline mergers and acquisitions, aircraft detention, arrest and seizure, aircraft accident litigation, aviation environmental issues, repossession strategies, including self-help remedies, court orders, cross-border enforcement strategies and arbitration as well as aviation company bankruptcy, reorganisation, and restructuring issues.

Appropriately, the international registry established pursuant to The Cape Town Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment is located in Ireland. The Irish High Court is designated as the relevant court for the purposes of the Convention with any proceedings involving the international registry normally issued in the Irish Commercial Court.

William Fry offers a fully integrated and multi-disciplined approach to our international and domestic clients on all forms of aviation matters including litigation, dispute resolution and disputes relating to the Convention.

Our aviation litigation experience includes advising on:

  • Mediation and Arbitration;
  • Dispute Resolution;
  • Regulatory matters;
  • Competition Law;
  • Aircraft arrest and detention;
  • Irish Aviation Authority regulations;
  • Insurance;
  • Enforcement;
  • Accident Litigation;
  • Insolvency;
  • The Cape Town Convention;
  • Repossessions;
  • The Groundhandling Directive;
  • The Slots Regulation and common rules for the allocation of slots at Community Airports;
  • Price Regulation of Airport Assets.

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Department

  • Sources laud the team's "strategic thinking" in complex cross-border disputes, going on to say: "The firm is very efficient and has a lot of depth of talent." Another client add that the team is "extremely pleasant, responsive and technically able. They have the capacity to find practical solutions to complex and sensitive legal problems." Chambers Europe 2020
  • William Fry's "strategic and results-oriented" litigation team counts major domestic and international corporates, financial institutions and state bodies among its clients. One source notes that "the team have an in-depth and extensive expertise in the area, providing expert advice to clients." The "impressive" team is described by clients as "the standout firm in Ireland for intellectual property litigation and patent litigation in particular," as well as being "extremely strategic and results oriented. They keep their eye on the business result the client seeks, and don’t get caught up in litigation for the sake of litigation." They are also noted for having "excellent junior staff provide first-class back-up to the front-line litigators," and a "long tradition of conducting complex litigation in every Superior Court in Ireland." Legal 500 2020
  • "outstanding" a client describes. IFLR 1000 2019 
  • Interviewees appreciate "their keen insight into litigation strategy with the goal of achieving the client's business objectives as promptly as possible". Sources say "the firm has an outstanding reputation amongst clients, practitioners and the judiciary alike".  Interviewees single out the firm for its pragmatism, citing a "very commercial approach and strong focus on business needs". Another interviewee echoes a similar sentiment: "we were very impressed by their responsiveness and their ability to grasp the commercial reality of their client's situation". Chambers Europe 2019 
  • Market commentators say: "William Fry have a strong bench across all disciplines. They have the resources to meet all challenges that arise in litigation." Another source adds that there is a "very high standard of service, because they're so well resourced you can pull on different expertise from different levels of their business." Sources describe the firm as "a pleasure to work with as they are intellectually very strong, yet decent, easy-going personalities." Chambers Global, 2018
  • An interviewee states: "They have excellent litigation instincts and analytical abilities," adding: "They are very effective at taking complex issues and boiling them down to essential elements, and because of that, they are good at developing an overall litigation strategy. It really has been a pleasure because they are very smart and produce a first-class work product; they are first-rate".Another client appreciates the fact that they "always get a proactive, practical and commercial viewpoint." Another source agrees: "I am impressed with the practical, commercial focus of the department and the understanding of the commercial realities facing its clients." Another commentator enthuses: "We find the litigation team at William Fry excellent. In addition to the quality of their legal advice, we continue to be impressed by their client focus. They know the type and level of information and input that we require and tailor their advice accordingly."  Chambers Global 2017
  • William Fry has broad-ranging expertise, notably including retail, financial services, healthcare and media. Recent highlights include practice head Owen O’Sullivan successfully obtaining an injunction against RTÉ regarding publication of Denis O’Brien’s banking arrangements, and ‘very practical adviser’ Garrett Breen defending Egis Lagan Services and Lagan Construction Group Holdings in procurement litigation over the N20 road. Legal 500 EMEA 2017 
  • "The firm is extremely responsive, really works with us well and gets to know us. The team is completely reliable and has lots of experts to deal with everything you need."
    "The advice is commercial as well as purely legal, and the lawyers are accessible and always in a position to respond as quickly as we require. We have a real sense that we get value for money." 
    Chambers Europe 2016
  • William Fry has a ‘first-class and proactive’ team. Legal 500 2016.

Team

Owen O'Sullivan

  • Owen garners widespread praise for his expertise in shareholder disputes and regulatory enforcement actions. "He is surgical in his approach; he can pick a case apart to find the strengths and weaknesses," says one impressed interviewee. Another source notes: "He understands all of the issues involved in going to court and is good at explaining those issues." Chambers Europe 2020
  • Owen has been ranked has a 'Leading Individual' in Legal 500 2020, where one client mentioned he is a "great tactical thinker."
  • Sources describe him as "an excellent litigator" and a "very polished operator." Chambers Europe 2019 
  • Market commentators describe Owen O'Sullivan as "deadly efficient, thorough, cool and analytical" in his approach to commercial litigation. Chambers Global 2018
  • Owen O’Sullivan is ‘an excellent legal thinker’. Legal 500 2018
  • Owen O'Sullivan receives plaudits from a range of market commentators, describing him as an "excellent corporate litigator" and "a very astute operator" who has "very tactical and good commercial judgement." Chambers Global 2017
  • Owen O'Sullivan is a litigator and dispute resolution specialist with an exceptional reputation, including sound knowledge and experience of insurance disputes who is "quickly able to make decisions on how to handle certain situations, taking into account all stakeholders that may be affected." Interviewees praise him as a "very astute guy with really reliable intuition in court."  Chambers Europe 2016

Carol Plunkett

  • Carol is listed in Best Lawyers 2020 under 'The Best Lawyers in Ireland' for work in Biotechnology Law and Intellectual Property Law.
  • Clients describe Carol as a "brilliant lawyer" and "leading practitioner."  Chambers Europe 2020
  • Carol is "rated highly in terms of competence, experience, knowledge and judgement". One client notes that they have worked with Carol "on a number of cases in the last 12 months ranging from SPC validity proceedings to copyright." They add that they "are awaiting judgment in one case where I expected we would lose at the proofs stage but now believe that we will likely win because of the work put in by the team. On the IP side I would rate Fry as the leading firm in Ireland." Legal 500 2020
  • Sources highlight her "well-deserved reputation for handling commercial litigation before the Irish courts, based on years of experience." Chambers Europe 2019 
  • Carol Plunkett is an "excellent IP litigation strategist". Legal 500 2018 
  • A client says "Carol Plunkett is best known for assisting pharmaceutical and technology companies with intellectual property and regulatory disputes. She advised GlaxoSmithKline on its trade mark infringement and passing-off action against Rowex Pharmaceuticals". Chambers Global 2018 
  • Esteemed litigator Carol Plunkett  is widely acclaimed for her unrivalled practice handling IP disputes. One source explains: "She brings a whole wealth of experience to the table and is a doyenne of Irish IP law." Carol  has ‘an amazing IP knowledge base.’ Chambers Global 2017
  • Carol Plunkett is widely admired for her strength in IP and regulatory disputes and is highlighted by market commentators as an "extremely accomplished lawyer" and "a leader in IP litigation." Chambers Europe 2016

Garrett Breen

  • Garrett has been ranked as a leading individual by Legal 500 2020 in the 'Hall of Fame'. He "has unrivalled experience and excellent judgement. He and his team also work extremely hard and I have never been involved in a case where a deadline has been missed or where better trial preparation could have been achieved." Another clients adds that Garrett "has tons of experience in handling the heaviest litigation and first-class tactical sense. He relates really well to clients, counsel and opposing teams, a real advantage when negotiation is called for."
  • "Garrett has great experience in how best to approach complicated multiparty litigation," affirm clients. Chambers Global 2020
  • "Garrett Breen is pragmatic decision-maker and canny litigator who can calm troubled waters." Legal 500 2020 
  • A client states "Garrett has an outstanding reputation working on cases involving regulated markets. He has particular experience acting on telecoms and financial services mandates. He acted for ComReg on multiple enforcement actions against eir". Chambers Europe 2019 
  • Garrett Breen is "well placed to advise companies and institutions on cross-border litigation and investigations. He has particular expertise in cases involving the TMT, banking and competition sectors". Chambers Global 2018 
  • The "excellent" Garrett Breen handles a range of disputes, and is noted by sources for his knowledge of the technology and telecommunications sectors. Clients say he provides a "no-nonsense approach and sound insight." Chambers Global 2017
  • Garrett Breen is described as a ‘very practical adviser’. Legal 500 EMEA 2017
  • Garrett Breen is well positioned for major litigation cases, as he is "a good organiser of large litigation teams and well equipped for the logistics of the largest, most complex litigation." His broad experience includes prominent cases in the IP, competition, banking and regulatory spheres. Chambers Global 2016

Fiona Barry 

  • According to Chambers Europe 2020, clients appreciate that Fiona is "very careful and thorough," while market commentators highlight her ability to "efficiently find her way to the core of the case." Another clients add that Fiona is "very timely and clear in her advice."
  • Fiona Barry is head of the firm's healthcare team and advises on a range of complex medical mandates, including cerebral palsy and neurological cases. One source says: "She is excellent: confident, careful and easy to get on with." Chambers Europe 2019
  • Fiona Barry "frequently acts for well-known clients on healthcare and medical negligence matters. She is experienced in advising institutional and private clients on regulatory issues and insurance disputes. She assisted the Medical Protection Society with the defence of a EUR1 million medical negligence claim against a consultant gynaecologist regarding a total abdominal hysterectomy". Chambers Europe 2018
  • Fiona Barry holds a commanding position in the medical negligence and healthcare litigation sphere, including regulatory and insurance matters. Clients praise her as being "responsive, knowledgeable and pleasant." Chambers Global 2017
  • Fiona Barry is ‘responsive, calm and considered’. Chambers Global 2016

Margaret Muldowney

  • One source says that Margaret is "calm under pressure," while another describes her as "personable and great at client care." Chambers Europe 2020
  • Margaret "advises on regulatory and disciplinary cases in the healthcare sector. Her mandates often pertain to issues such as product liability, psychiatric injury and catastrophic injury claims". Chambers Europe 2019 
  • Margaret routinely assists institutions and individual medical practitioners with the defence of fitness to practise inquiries and clinical claims. Sources note that she is "very experienced." Chambers Europe 2018
  • Consultant Margaret is recognised by interviewees for her expertise in product liability and malpractice litigation in the medical and healthcare sectors. Chambers Global 2017
  • Margaret is "well known as an extremely safe pair of hands," according to sources. Chambers Global 2016

Lisa Carty

  • Interviewees say that Lisa "achieves outcomes that significantly exceed expectations." Chambers Global 2020
  • "Lisa is an excellent lawyer with outstanding negotiation skills. She and her team provide very balanced advice in frequently fraught circumstances." IFLR1000 2020
  • According to Legal 500 2020, Lisa and her team are regarded as "exceptional" and have an "in-depth knowledge and experience of the relevant sectors. They have a particular emphasis on regulatory bodies where their experience is unrivalled."
  • Lisa has been ranked as a 'Leading Individual' in Legal 500 2020, where one source noted that she "is an excellent lawyer with outstanding negotiation skills. Her expertise and the service she delivers is unrivalled in the Irish market." 
  • Clients describe her as "a very calm person who is practical in trying to find a resolution." Chambers Europe 2019 
  • One source says: "She is very approachable, strong in litigation and very practical. She's always very well prepared and her advice is well able to tailor specific needs of the client." Chambers Global 2018
  • William Fry’s expertise in commercial disputes was once again in evidence with the ‘knowledgeable and insightful’. Legal 500 2018
  • According to one client, Lisa Carty "is a very commercially aware lawyer: her advice is not just legally sound but also mindful of the practical impact for her client's business. She is insightful, knowledgeable, accessible, decisive and a pleasure to deal with." Chambers Global 2017
  • Clients admire Lisa Carty for her "keen commercial sense, while at the same time being technically very proficient, instilling confidence. Her advice is decisive and well informed." Chambers Global 2016

Paul Convery

  • According to Chambers Europe 2020, Paul "is very client-focused, responsive and organised," says one source, while another reports: "He tells it like it is, giving real-life advice on our legal position and different ways to handle our situation."
  • One client describes Paul as "very responsive to clients and exceptionally focused. He analyses matters very clearly and comprehensively." While another says that he "has good nerve, relates easily to international clients, and has an excellent eye for what really are the key issues in complex cases." Legal 500 2020
  • One client highlights his "razor-sharp mind," while another source describes him as "client-oriented." Chambers Europe 2019 
  • Market commentators describe him as "extremely responsive, very thorough and analytical in his approach, with a great ability to see key issues." Chambers Global 2018
  • One client describes Paul Convery as "excellent" and "an up-and-coming lawyer," adding: "He is a very patient individual and has the virtue of being experienced while being young." Chambers Global 2017
  • Clients appreciate his "incredible patience and attention to detail." Chambers Global 2016

Sinead Keavey

  • Interviewees appreciate Sinéad's personal involvement in cases and note that "she pays a lot of attention to detail." Chambers Europe 2020
  • Interviewees say that Sinéad Keavey's "strengths include complex healthcare inquiries and investigations, and she demonstrates considerable knowledge and expertise in this area." Chambers Europe 2019
  • Sinead Keavey is a growing presence in healthcare litigation and is widely praised for her "attention to detail, determination, delivery of results within the timeframe and communication with clients." She acted for the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland on judicial proceedings brought against the college over its decision not to accredit a live plastic surgery event. ​Chambers Europe 2018
     
     

Key Contacts

Garrett Breen Partner

David Maughan Partner

Sarah Twohig Senior Associate

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