Contact details

Rupali Sharma

T: +44 20 7809 2689 M: +44 7789 337889 Email Rupali | vCard Office: London

Awards

The Legal 500 UK Awards 2020 Winner - Transport Law Firm of the Year

The Legal 500 UK Awards 2020 Winner - Transport Law Firm of the Year

Rupali Sharma Associate

Contact details

Rupali Sharma

Rupali Sharma
Associate

T: +44 20 7809 2689 M: +44 7789 337889 Email Rupali | vCard Office: London

Rupali is an associate in our commercial litigation team, and advises on disputes encompassing a number of sectors, with particular expertise in aviation litigation and regulation.
  • Profile
  • Services
  • Sectors

Rupali has experience in handling a variety of disputes for clients in the aviation sector, including airlines, manufacturers, insurers, airport operators, ground handlers and lessors on a broad range of contractual disputes. She has in-depth experience working on aviation regulatory matters, with particular expertise in the areas of travel, consumer protection and passenger rights at a domestic, EU and International level. Rupali also has experience working on issues arising out of airspace management and has been involved in very high-profile work in relation to NATS.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Rupali has regularly advised key aviation stakeholders on the impact of COVID-19 on aviation generally, including in particular on the effects of force majeure and frustration arguments on existing contractual arrangements, EC 261 refunds and chargeback requests, and how to navigate around the changing regulatory and legal landscape as the aviation industry recovers. Rupali also contributed to a special publication by Wolters Kluwer, titled: ‘International Arbitration and the Covid-19 Revolution,’ and co-authored a chapter on ‘Covid-19 and Aviation Disputes.’

In addition, Rupali regularly advises and assists airlines in respect of investigations by regulators like the Civil Aviation Authority, the Competition and Markets Authority, the Payment Systems Regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, and the Advertising Standards Agency. 

  • Aviation litigation and regulation
  • Commercial litigation
  • Dispute resolution

Judicial review

Acted for Ryanair DAC, an Interested Party, in the judicial review proceedings brought by Manchester Airports Holdings Limited against the Secretary of State for Transport and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care in respect of the ongoing reviews to allocate foreign countries to categories under the UK traffic light system regulating international travel.

Represented Ryanair DAC in judicial review proceedings brought against the UK Civil Aviation Authority in the English Administrative Court relating to the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme administered by the CAA for passenger claims.

Regularly advises airlines on the merits of judicial review applications on the decisions of regulatory bodies following investigations either into airlines or prompted by a complaint from the airline.

Part 8 Enterprise Act enforcement proceedings

Defended Ryanair DAC in Part 8 Enterprise Act 2002 enforcement proceedings brought by the UK Civil Aviation Authority in the English High Court concerning EC Regulation 261/2004 and the union-led strikes that affected Ryanair's operations in 2017 and 2018, and currently advising and assisting with a potential appeal to the Court of Appeal.

Transport Act proceedings

Advising a stakeholder on the Civil Aviation Authority's recent investigation into NATS' air traffic control services provided at Stansted and Luton Airport, 'Project Palamon.'

Advertising queries and investigations

Regularly defends a European airline in respect of investigations by the Advertising Standards Agency relating to various claims made by the airline regarding its performance as part of national advertising campaigns.

Advises on potential advertising claims prior to broadcasting, to ensure compliance with the BCAP and CAP codes, and assisting with Clearcast approval.

Covid-19

Advising airlines on refunds of flights cancelled due to Covid-19, and in particular, defending a European airline in an investigation by the Competition Markets Authority into the airline's refund practices and procedures for cancelled flights.

Assisting an airline in defending thousands of chargebacks issued by unauthorised online travel agents under the Visa, Mastercard and American Express scheme rules for refunds of cancelled flights. This includes, advising on potential civil and criminal causes of action against the travel agents, and issuing complaints to the relevant regulators (CAA, PSR, FCA and EU Commission) in respect of the commercial practices adopted by the online travel agents and the appropriateness of the scheme rules in current Covid-19 pandemic.

Advising an airline on the Covid-19 travel regulations, including reviewing the airline's booking and check-in processes to ensure compliance, updating the airline on changes to the regulations, defending fixed penalty notices, and advising on the Civil Aviation Authority's enforcement powers.

Brexit

Advising airlines on a variety of matters concerning the UK's exit from the European Union including those relating to ownership and control, traffic rights, validity of maintenance approvals and licences, and amendments to various EU regulations following incorporation into UK law.

Regulatory and commercial advice

Advising airlines on a variety of aviation commercial and regulatory aspects including with reference to the entering into and termination of contracts with suppliers, ground handlers and ADR entities. High level advice on passenger claims under EC Regulation 261/2004 and the Montreal Convention 1999, and advice concerning passengers with reduced mobility, disruptive passengers, ATOL and the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements 2018.

Reviewing and advising on suggested changes to airlines' General Terms and Conditions of Carriage to either reflect amendments in the regulatory landscape (in particular in light of Brexit and Covid-19), in response to investigations by regulators or to protect against an increase in invalid claims for refunds arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Reviewing an airlines' booking process in respect of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and EC Regulation 1008/2008, and advising on changes to ensure compliance, whilst at the same time, assisting airlines in making complaints about unauthorised online travel agents that fail to comply with the abovementioned regulations.

Advising airlines in respect of changes (either in force or upcoming) to relevant regulations and legislation and the impact this may have on an airline's commercial practices. This included drafting an airline's submissions to the EU Aviation Working Party in respect of the Commission's proposal to amend EC Regulation 261/2004, and attending a meeting with the Civil Aviation Authority to discuss guidance on the overlap between the EU and UK regime on consumer protection following Brexit.

Defending a European Airline in a Commercial Court claim brought by an online travel agent for breach of competition, consumer and contract law, and alternatively, for causing the online travel agent loss by unlawful means due to the airline's refund policy for cancelled flights.

Contractual disputes

Advising an airline on a complex high value contractual dispute arising out of a consignment agreement with a global provider of high value aviation spare parts

Advised an airline on the termination of a standard IATA ground handling agreement for London Gatwick Airport, on the basis that the ground handler failed to provide the expected standards of services. Assisted the airline in reaching an amicable settlement with the ground handler.

Advised one of the world's largest aviation catering companies in relation to a dispute regarding the supply of premium catering services to a leading global airline.

Acting for an Austrian airline, in a claim in the Commercial Court in respect of our client's early termination of a rental software license agreement.

Aircraft leasing disputes

Advising a lessor on the potential claims and remedies following the late redelivery of two A319 aircraft. The lessee, an African airline, has entered into voluntary liquidation due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Advising a lessor on the potential claims against an airline under operating lease agreements for three aircraft, arising out of the non-payment of rent and maintenance reserves during the Covid-19 pandemic, including advising on summary judgment.

Advised a European aircraft lessor on the purported termination by the lessee on the grounds of force majeure/frustration arising from COVID-19, of an ACMI (aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance) lease agreement for the wet lease of ten aircraft.

Contractual disputes

Advising an airline on a complex high value contractual dispute arising out of a consignment agreement with a global provider of high value aviation spare parts

Advised an airline on the termination of a standard IATA ground handling agreement for London Gatwick Airport, on the basis that the ground handler failed to provide the expected standards of services. Assisted the airline in reaching an amicable settlement with the ground handler.

Advised one of the world's largest aviation catering companies in relation to a dispute regarding the supply of premium catering services to a leading global airline.

Acting for an Austrian airline, in a claim in the Commercial Court in respect of our client's early termination of a rental software license agreement.

Aircraft leasing disputes

Advising a lessor on the potential claims and remedies following the late redelivery of two A319 aircraft. The lessee, an African airline, has entered into voluntary liquidation due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Advising a lessor on the potential claims against an airline under operating lease agreements for three aircraft, arising out of the non-payment of rent and maintenance reserves during the Covid-19 pandemic, including advising on summary judgment.

Advised a European aircraft lessor on the purported termination by the lessee on the grounds of force majeure/frustration arising from COVID-19, of an ACMI (aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance) lease agreement for the wet lease of ten aircraft.

Judicial review

Acted for Ryanair DAC, an Interested Party, in the judicial review proceedings brought by Manchester Airports Holdings Limited against the Secretary of State for Transport and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care in respect of the ongoing reviews to allocate foreign countries to categories under the UK traffic light system regulating international travel.

Represented Ryanair DAC in judicial review proceedings brought against the UK Civil Aviation Authority in the English Administrative Court relating to the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme administered by the CAA for passenger claims.

Regularly advises airlines on the merits of judicial review applications on the decisions of regulatory bodies following investigations either into airlines or prompted by a complaint from the airline.

Part 8 Enterprise Act enforcement proceedings

Defended Ryanair DAC in Part 8 Enterprise Act 2002 enforcement proceedings brought by the UK Civil Aviation Authority in the English High Court concerning EC Regulation 261/2004 and the union-led strikes that affected Ryanair's operations in 2017 and 2018, and currently advising and assisting with a potential appeal to the Court of Appeal.

Transport Act proceedings

Advising a stakeholder on the Civil Aviation Authority's recent investigation into NATS' air traffic control services provided at Stansted and Luton Airport, 'Project Palamon.'

Advertising queries and investigations

Regularly defends a European airline in respect of investigations by the Advertising Standards Agency relating to various claims made by the airline regarding its performance as part of national advertising campaigns.

Advises on potential advertising claims prior to broadcasting, to ensure compliance with the BCAP and CAP codes, and assisting with Clearcast approval.

Covid-19

Advising airlines on refunds of flights cancelled due to Covid-19, and in particular, defending a European airline in an investigation by the Competition Markets Authority into the airline's refund practices and procedures for cancelled flights.

Assisting an airline in defending thousands of chargebacks issued by unauthorised online travel agents under the Visa, Mastercard and American Express scheme rules for refunds of cancelled flights. This includes, advising on potential civil and criminal causes of action against the travel agents, and issuing complaints to the relevant regulators (CAA, PSR, FCA and EU Commission) in respect of the commercial practices adopted by the online travel agents and the appropriateness of the scheme rules in current Covid-19 pandemic.

Advising an airline on the Covid-19 travel regulations, including reviewing the airline's booking and check-in processes to ensure compliance, updating the airline on changes to the regulations, defending fixed penalty notices, and advising on the Civil Aviation Authority's enforcement powers.

Brexit

Advising airlines on a variety of matters concerning the UK's exit from the European Union including those relating to ownership and control, traffic rights, validity of maintenance approvals and licences, and amendments to various EU regulations following incorporation into UK law.

Regulatory and commercial advice

Advising airlines on a variety of aviation commercial and regulatory aspects including with reference to the entering into and termination of contracts with suppliers, ground handlers and ADR entities. High level advice on passenger claims under EC Regulation 261/2004 and the Montreal Convention 1999, and advice concerning passengers with reduced mobility, disruptive passengers, ATOL and the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements 2018.

Reviewing and advising on suggested changes to airlines' General Terms and Conditions of Carriage to either reflect amendments in the regulatory landscape (in particular in light of Brexit and Covid-19), in response to investigations by regulators or to protect against an increase in invalid claims for refunds arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Reviewing an airlines' booking process in respect of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and EC Regulation 1008/2008, and advising on changes to ensure compliance, whilst at the same time, assisting airlines in making complaints about unauthorised online travel agents that fail to comply with the abovementioned regulations.

Advising airlines in respect of changes (either in force or upcoming) to relevant regulations and legislation and the impact this may have on an airline's commercial practices. This included drafting an airline's submissions to the EU Aviation Working Party in respect of the Commission's proposal to amend EC Regulation 261/2004, and attending a meeting with the Civil Aviation Authority to discuss guidance on the overlap between the EU and UK regime on consumer protection following Brexit.

Defending a European Airline in a Commercial Court claim brought by an online travel agent for breach of competition, consumer and contract law, and alternatively, for causing the online travel agent loss by unlawful means due to the airline's refund policy for cancelled flights.

Contractual disputes

Advising an airline on a complex high value contractual dispute arising out of a consignment agreement with a global provider of high value aviation spare parts

Advised an airline on the termination of a standard IATA ground handling agreement for London Gatwick Airport, on the basis that the ground handler failed to provide the expected standards of services. Assisted the airline in reaching an amicable settlement with the ground handler.

Advised one of the world's largest aviation catering companies in relation to a dispute regarding the supply of premium catering services to a leading global airline.

Acting for an Austrian airline, in a claim in the Commercial Court in respect of our client's early termination of a rental software license agreement.

Aircraft leasing disputes

Advising a lessor on the potential claims and remedies following the late redelivery of two A319 aircraft. The lessee, an African airline, has entered into voluntary liquidation due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Advising a lessor on the potential claims against an airline under operating lease agreements for three aircraft, arising out of the non-payment of rent and maintenance reserves during the Covid-19 pandemic, including advising on summary judgment.

Advised a European aircraft lessor on the purported termination by the lessee on the grounds of force majeure/frustration arising from COVID-19, of an ACMI (aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance) lease agreement for the wet lease of ten aircraft.

Coverage advice

Advising leading insurers on the availability of cover under their respective aviation hull and liability insurance policies following a claim from the insured relating to damaged aircraft, third party liability, and total loss.

Subrogation recovery claim against a service provider following damage to a Boeing 747

Acted for a leading aviation insurer in the Irish commercial courts on a subrogation claim in the name of the insured (an operator of a fleet of cargo airplanes), against the supplier of pilots, engineers and technical staff contracted to provide trip co-ordination, crew and operational flight support, for damages to the aircraft following a ferry flight and demonstration flight.

Personal Injury

Advising insurers on passenger claims for personal injury under the Montreal Convention 1999 and the Warsaw Convention 1955, as amended. Assisting the insurers in reaching settlements, where appropriate, with the injured passenger.

Aircraft damage and accidents

Advising leading insurers on claims by the insured for aircraft damage arising either from the insured's negligence or defective maintenance. This also included considering subrogation rights to seek recovery from third party.

Assisting insurers in dealing with aircraft accidents which resulted in total loss and fatalities. This includes following the AAIB investigation and reports, managing claims from the estate of the deceased and attending inquests, where appropriate. 

More: Dispute resolution
  • Insurance
  • Aviation

Coverage advice

Advising leading insurers on the availability of cover under their respective aviation hull and liability insurance policies following a claim from the insured relating to damaged aircraft, third party liability, and total loss.

Subrogation recovery claim against a service provider following damage to a Boeing 747

Acted for a leading aviation insurer in the Irish commercial courts on a subrogation claim in the name of the insured (an operator of a fleet of cargo airplanes), against the supplier of pilots, engineers and technical staff contracted to provide trip co-ordination, crew and operational flight support, for damages to the aircraft following a ferry flight and demonstration flight.

Personal Injury

Advising insurers on passenger claims for personal injury under the Montreal Convention 1999 and the Warsaw Convention 1955, as amended. Assisting the insurers in reaching settlements, where appropriate, with the injured passenger.

Aircraft damage and accidents

Advising leading insurers on claims by the insured for aircraft damage arising either from the insured's negligence or defective maintenance. This also included considering subrogation rights to seek recovery from third party.

Assisting insurers in dealing with aircraft accidents which resulted in total loss and fatalities. This includes following the AAIB investigation and reports, managing claims from the estate of the deceased and attending inquests, where appropriate. 

More: Insurance

Judicial review

Acted for Ryanair DAC, an Interested Party, in the judicial review proceedings brought by Manchester Airports Holdings Limited against the Secretary of State for Transport and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care in respect of the ongoing reviews to allocate foreign countries to categories under the UK traffic light system regulating international travel.

Represented Ryanair DAC in judicial review proceedings brought against the UK Civil Aviation Authority in the English Administrative Court relating to the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme administered by the CAA for passenger claims.

Regularly advises airlines on the merits of judicial review applications on the decisions of regulatory bodies following investigations either into airlines or prompted by a complaint from the airline.

Part 8 Enterprise Act enforcement proceedings

Defended Ryanair DAC in Part 8 Enterprise Act 2002 enforcement proceedings brought by the UK Civil Aviation Authority in the English High Court concerning EC Regulation 261/2004 and the union-led strikes that affected Ryanair's operations in 2017 and 2018, and currently advising and assisting with a potential appeal to the Court of Appeal.

Transport Act proceedings

Advising a stakeholder on the Civil Aviation Authority's recent investigation into NATS' air traffic control services provided at Stansted and Luton Airport, 'Project Palamon.'

Advertising queries and investigations

Regularly defends a European airline in respect of investigations by the Advertising Standards Agency relating to various claims made by the airline regarding its performance as part of national advertising campaigns.

Advises on potential advertising claims prior to broadcasting, to ensure compliance with the BCAP and CAP codes, and assisting with Clearcast approval.

Covid-19

Advising airlines on refunds of flights cancelled due to Covid-19, and in particular, defending a European airline in an investigation by the Competition Markets Authority into the airline's refund practices and procedures for cancelled flights.

Assisting an airline in defending thousands of chargebacks issued by unauthorised online travel agents under the Visa, Mastercard and American Express scheme rules for refunds of cancelled flights. This includes, advising on potential civil and criminal causes of action against the travel agents, and issuing complaints to the relevant regulators (CAA, PSR, FCA and EU Commission) in respect of the commercial practices adopted by the online travel agents and the appropriateness of the scheme rules in current Covid-19 pandemic.

Advising an airline on the Covid-19 travel regulations, including reviewing the airline's booking and check-in processes to ensure compliance, updating the airline on changes to the regulations, defending fixed penalty notices, and advising on the Civil Aviation Authority's enforcement powers.

Brexit

Advising airlines on a variety of matters concerning the UK's exit from the European Union including those relating to ownership and control, traffic rights, validity of maintenance approvals and licences, and amendments to various EU regulations following incorporation into UK law.

Regulatory and commercial advice

Advising airlines on a variety of aviation commercial and regulatory aspects including with reference to the entering into and termination of contracts with suppliers, ground handlers and ADR entities. High level advice on passenger claims under EC Regulation 261/2004 and the Montreal Convention 1999, and advice concerning passengers with reduced mobility, disruptive passengers, ATOL and the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements 2018.

Reviewing and advising on suggested changes to airlines' General Terms and Conditions of Carriage to either reflect amendments in the regulatory landscape (in particular in light of Brexit and Covid-19), in response to investigations by regulators or to protect against an increase in invalid claims for refunds arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Reviewing an airlines' booking process in respect of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and EC Regulation 1008/2008, and advising on changes to ensure compliance, whilst at the same time, assisting airlines in making complaints about unauthorised online travel agents that fail to comply with the abovementioned regulations.

Advising airlines in respect of changes (either in force or upcoming) to relevant regulations and legislation and the impact this may have on an airline's commercial practices. This included drafting an airline's submissions to the EU Aviation Working Party in respect of the Commission's proposal to amend EC Regulation 261/2004, and attending a meeting with the Civil Aviation Authority to discuss guidance on the overlap between the EU and UK regime on consumer protection following Brexit.

Defending a European Airline in a Commercial Court claim brought by an online travel agent for breach of competition, consumer and contract law, and alternatively, for causing the online travel agent loss by unlawful means due to the airline's refund policy for cancelled flights.

Contractual disputes

Advising an airline on a complex high value contractual dispute arising out of a consignment agreement with a global provider of high value aviation spare parts

Advised an airline on the termination of a standard IATA ground handling agreement for London Gatwick Airport, on the basis that the ground handler failed to provide the expected standards of services. Assisted the airline in reaching an amicable settlement with the ground handler.

Advised one of the world's largest aviation catering companies in relation to a dispute regarding the supply of premium catering services to a leading global airline.

Acting for an Austrian airline, in a claim in the Commercial Court in respect of our client's early termination of a rental software license agreement.

Aircraft leasing disputes

Advising a lessor on the potential claims and remedies following the late redelivery of two A319 aircraft. The lessee, an African airline, has entered into voluntary liquidation due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Advising a lessor on the potential claims against an airline under operating lease agreements for three aircraft, arising out of the non-payment of rent and maintenance reserves during the Covid-19 pandemic, including advising on summary judgment.

Advised a European aircraft lessor on the purported termination by the lessee on the grounds of force majeure/frustration arising from COVID-19, of an ACMI (aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance) lease agreement for the wet lease of ten aircraft.

More: Aviation

Awards

The Legal 500 UK Awards 2020 Winner - Transport Law Firm of the Year

The Legal 500 UK Awards 2020 Winner - Transport Law Firm of the Year

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