Airline had to change course on pilots

Problem: the national airline of Kuwait no longer paid a salary to pilots with Iraqi nationality. It later reported the dismissal of the pilots involved, who evidently had no access to the courts in Kuwait.

Solution: the background of this story was that Iraq had at a given moment invaded and occupied its neighbouring country, Kuwait. A number of Iraqi pilots in Kuwaiti service were stranded with their planes abroad during the time of the Iraqi invasion, and were given instructions not to fly back. The pilots were given asylum in Canada, the UK and the Netherlands, among other countries. At one point, they were not paid any more. Years after the liberation of Kuwait they received a document from their employer stating that the Emir of Kuwait had dismissed them with retroactive force. Going to court in Kuwait proved impossible. Edgar Hennis represented, as a lawyer, a group of Iraqi pilots who wanted to contest the dismissal. New legislation was then in the making that made it possible to take a case to the Dutch courts in exceptional situations when it was impossible to get a fair trial anywhere else in the world. By relying on that (then still pending) legislation, property of the Kuwaiti national airlines was seized in the Netherlands. We introduced proceedings in the Dutch courts for the salary to continue to be paid and to get the arrears of salaries paid. These proceedings initially concerned the competence of the Dutch courts and applicable law, as the merit of the case depended on it.

the risk that it could lose the case, in combination with the fact that in any event, it could not avail themselves of its seized assets during the proceedings, ultimately convinced the airline to change course. The pilots we represented received substantial compensation from the airline.