Qatar Airways evade lawsuit over Australian women treatment at Doha airport

Qatar Airways has managed to evade an Australian lawsuit regarding an incident at Doha airport, where women were forcefully removed from planes by armed guards and subjected to intimate examinations. However, despite the federal court dismissing the case against the airline, Justice John Halley ruled that the five Australian women involved could potentially refile their claims for damages against Matar, a subsidiary of Qatar Airways responsible for operating Doha airport.

Initiated in 2022 by the five women, the legal action initially targeted the airline but later included the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA) and Matar following the October 2020 incident. The women sought damages for alleged “unlawful physical contact,” false imprisonment, and psychological distress, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. They were among several passengers escorted off a Sydney-bound Qatar Airways plane by armed guards after a newborn baby was discovered abandoned at Hamad International Airport.

The women were taken to ambulances on the tarmac and subjected to invasive examinations to ascertain recent childbirth. One passenger was allegedly strip-searched while holding her five-month-old son. Qatar Airways and Matar sought to prove that the individuals involved, described as “men in dark uniforms,” were Qatari police under the jurisdiction of Qatar’s Ministry of Interior, disassociating themselves from the actions.

In a recent judgment, Halley ruled that the QCAA, as a government-owned entity, was immune from the court’s jurisdiction. He also concluded that Qatar Airways couldn’t be held accountable as its employees had no influence over the actions of the Qatari police. Consequently, Halley dismissed the claim against the airline under the Montreal Convention, which governs airline liability worldwide.

However, Halley found that Matar hadn’t proven that its employees or contracted security personnel didn’t give specific directions to the women during the incident. Thus, he ruled that the women could potentially refile cases against Matar for negligence and vicarious liability for assault and false imprisonment.

Representatives of the women, Marque Lawyers, expressed their intent to review the court’s reasons and explore avenues for appeal. Meanwhile, a case management hearing is scheduled for May 10. This legal saga follows a period of controversy over the Australian government’s refusal of Qatar Airways’ request to increase flights to Australia. The experiences of the five women played a role in the transport minister’s decision to reject the airline’s request.

The lawsuit brought by the five women against Qatar Airways and its associated entities has been a prolonged and contentious legal battle. Despite the dismissal of certain claims against Qatar Airways, the potential for further litigation against Matar indicates that the legal proceedings are far from over.

Marque Lawyers, representing the women, emphasized their determination to pursue justice for their clients despite setbacks in the courtroom. The case has garnered significant attention, not only due to the disturbing nature of the incident but also because of its implications for airline liability and passenger rights under international conventions like the Montreal Convention.

The refusal of Qatar Airways’ request to increase flights to Australia by the Australian government underscores the broader diplomatic and regulatory ramifications of this incident. It reflects the intersection of legal, political, and human rights issues that have come to the forefront as a result of this unfortunate event.

As the legal proceedings continue, stakeholders will closely monitor developments to see how the case unfolds and what implications it may have for similar incidents in the future. The perseverance of the women involved, along with their legal representation, underscores the importance of holding airlines and associated entities accountable for ensuring the safety and dignity of passengers in all circumstances.

Latest articles

Criminals barred from changing names in BC

Canada’s westernmost province, British Columbia, will now prevent individuals who have committed serious crimes from changing their names. This decision follows revelations that a...

Climate crisis making economic crisis worse

The economic impact of climate change is six times worse than previously believed, with global warming poised to reduce wealth on a scale comparable...

UK: Rishi Sunak-Akshata Murty’s wealth rise by £120m in a year

The personal fortune of Rishi Sunak and his wife, Akshata Murty, has increased by £120 million as the next general election approaches, according to...

Is US economy still struggling?

The United States finds itself amidst an intriguing economic surge, which carries implications not just for its own trajectory but also for global power...

Related articles