Two parallel investigations take place after every aviation accident: one technical, one judicial. The former must be conducted with the sole intention of making safety recommendations to prevent the recurrence of similar accidents. The judicial investigation, however, has the intention of identifying those parties that have been at fault and to apportion blameworthiness for criminal and civil liability. Consequently, this results in a predicament for those parties that have been identified as having played a role in the accident, a dilemma between not supplying information aimed at enhancing safety and preventing future accidents and, on the other hand, supplying such information which may possibly be used against them in subsequent criminal prosecution. The situation is compounded by inconsistent approaches between different legal systems; aviation professionals may find themselves faced with criminal charges in one country but not in another, and they may also be unsure as to whether statements given during the technical investigation could be used against them in a court of law. Aviation safety is, to a large extent, built upon the trust placed by pilots, ATCOs and other aviation professionals in the process of accident investigation. This book examines the growing trend to criminalize these same people following an accident investigation and considers the implications this has for aviation safety.
'This is one of the most important books on aviation safety to appear in at least a decade. Criminalizing human error is a growing safety problem in aviation as well as other industries. Sofia Michaelides-Mateou and Andreas Mateou have not only compiled an accessible and complete corpus of cases and arguments, but also given us a delightful, swift read. The book is necessary and timely. And it is utterly persuasive.' Sidney Dekker, School of Aviation, Lund University, Sweden 'The criminalization of aircraft accidents threatens to destroy the trust which has allowed accident investigators to identify systemic causes and make aviation as safe as it is. This book is an especially timely one, written from the unique perspectives of operating pilot and lawyer and bringing together many relevant cases. It makes compelling reading for accident investigators, safety managers, lawyers and legislators alike.' Graham Braithwaite, Cranfield University, UK 'Flying in the Face of Criminalization, with its unique collection of case studies, gives aviation professionals an insight into the law of negligence and how it applies to their profession. The book is essential reading for aviation professionals as well as aviation authorities and judicial authorities that regulate their activities.' Journal Luchtrecht (Dutch Aviation Law Journal) , Feb 2011 'The authors argue that criminal prosecution of individuals for omissions and negligent actions, as opposed to actions based on intent or wilfulness, which are the usual criminal standards, is chilling and potentially dangerous. What individual faced with possible criminal prosecution, especially in countries of questionable process, would voluntarily open up and tell "the whole truth"? Here, we are given many examples of problems with competing jurisdictions, evidence battles, incarceration of individuals and wrestling matches between agencies within a single nation and between nations. In short, it's a mess.' Times Higher Education, March 2011 'Flying in the Face of Criminalization, with its unique collection of case studies, gives aviation professionals an insight into the law of negligence and how it applies to their profession. The book is essential reading for aviation professionals as well as the aviation authorities and judicial authorities that regulate their activity.' Aerlines 50, June 2011 'This book can be used in a number of ways, as a full read or as a reference text. It will assist aviation professionals to minimise fear of prosecution. In addition, aviation authorities have to be alerted of the increasing trend of criminalisation and the consequential safety implications thereof. Judicial authorities should be made aware of the wide-ranging issues involved and the possible negative impact thereof in their endeavour to implement the "letter of the law" at all costs.' Selcal News June 2011 'This is a truly fascinating book, especially since the central dilemma of whether or not to volunteer (possibly self-incriminating) information for the greater good is not confined to the world of avaition. It might not, of itself, bring about change - but it is a useful addition to a debate on how to discourage most people covering their own backs first when anything goes wrong.' RoSPA Occupational Safety & Health Journal October 2011 'The book is recommended reading for anyone who is interested about the legislative perspective of accountability and negligence.' FinnAir Safety No 1, 2012