Illegal Charters and Aviation Law

Page 257


Legal Responsibility: From Civil to Criminal

Legal Responsibility: From Civil to Criminal

It is important to acknowledge that ‘there is never a moment in the life of an aircraft where it escapes a governing body of law.’1 It may come as no surprise that aviation accidents have social, political, and economic implications and draw great media awareness which inescapably directs attention to errors and omissions of parties and/or organisations and fuels public demand for accountability and the need to bring those responsible to justice. Thus, airplane incidents and failures garner a truly disproportionate share of media attention as compared to analogous events in other industries.2 Aviation safety is obviously in the interests of the public, the operators, and governments. Reports of previous incidents increase the public’s suspicion that an organisation’s priority is its financial viability and profitability, rather than safety; and when exhibited through poor safety overseeing by a national aviation authority, demands for registration and political accountability create tremendous pressure on politicians who publicly announce that those responsible will be held liable for their actions. Legal responsibility, therefore, is exactly equivalent to ‘liability to punishment.’3

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