A British judge hearing a complex price-fixing case involving British Airways has agreed to step down from the case after demanding that the airline tell him what it had done with his lost luggage.
The airline declined to answer the question, which it may have considered irrelevant or improper. The judge threatened to have BA’s chief executive brought before him to explain what had become of his luggage.
BA then asked the judge to step aside from hearing one of the biggest competition battles ever to come before British courts, the Belfast Telegraph reported. The judge has now agreed to do that.
The case in question dates back to 2006 when European Commission (EC) officials raided BA offices over suspicions of air cargo price-fixing. The EC later found BA and several other carriers had colluded to fix air cargo rates – as a result of which several hundred companies have launched a lawsuit against BA for losses and damages they say they suffered as a result.
The judge has now agreed to step aside or “recuse” himself from the case. Before doing do, however, he made clear that he didn’t consider any “reasonably minded observer would think, merely because I raised issues about the non-delivery of my luggage, that it should raise the possibility of bias”.
Written by Peter Needham