This answer is written by AI. The information provided in this response is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. Do not rely solely on the information provided in this response for any legal decisions. Consult with a qualified legal professional before making any decisions.

Can You Counter a Claim Under European and French Law?

Question from Kris, Can You Counter a Claim Under European and French Law?

Answer from AI:

When you receive a communication from a client that contains a threat of punitive action, such as the issuance of a Performance Improvement Letter (PIL), it’s important to approach the situation with a clear understanding of your legal rights and obligations. In this case, the client, British Airways, is suggesting that they may issue a PIL due to what they perceive as unreasonable actions that jeopardize operational support. Simultaneously, you mention that British Airways has not been paying invoices on time, which is a breach of contract.

Understanding Performance Improvement Letters (PIL)

A Performance Improvement Letter is a formal document that a company, like an airline, might issue to a supplier when they believe the supplier is not meeting contractual obligations. It typically outlines the areas where the supplier is failing and requests a plan for improvement.

Counter-Arguments Under European and French Law

To counter-argue the claim, you would need to assess the following:

  • Contractual Terms: Review the contract between your company and British Airways. Understand the specific terms regarding operational support and any clauses that may pertain to the issuance of a PIL.
  • Performance Obligations: Determine whether your company has indeed failed to meet the operational support obligations as per the contract.
  • Breach of Contract by British Airways: Document instances where British Airways has failed to pay invoices on time. This could potentially be used as leverage in your response, as non-payment is typically a breach of contract.
  • Applicable Law: Since the jurisdiction is France, French law will primarily govern the contract unless specified otherwise. European Union regulations may also apply, especially if they pertain to aviation, contracts, or commercial transactions.

Responding to the Client

In your response, consider the following steps:

  1. Seek Legal Advice: Before responding, it may be wise to consult with a legal professional who specializes in French and European commercial law to ensure that your response is legally sound.
  2. Address the PIL Threat: If your company has met its obligations, provide evidence to that effect. If there have been shortcomings, outline a plan for how these will be addressed.
  3. Highlight Breach by British Airways: If appropriate, mention the non-payment of invoices and how it constitutes a breach of contract on their part.
  4. Propose a Resolution: Suggest a meeting or negotiation to resolve both the operational issues and the payment delays.
  5. Keep Records: Document all communications with British Airways for future reference.

Legal Resources

For more information on contract law in France, you can refer to the French legal code. For European Union regulations that might apply, the EUR-Lex provides access to EU laws.


It’s crucial to handle such disputes carefully to maintain a professional relationship and to protect your legal rights. Always document your interactions and consider seeking legal advice to ensure that your response is appropriate and effective. Remember that this information is general in nature, and specific legal counsel should be sought for your particular situation.

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