(1) Basis for the decision.
We do not yet know the details, as the judgment has not been published. In broad terms, however, if the Judge has found for the claimants as the press report suggests (I say "if" because sometimes the press reports consensual settlement of cases as though they were judgments), then the Judge will have been persuaded by the evidence before him that it was more likely than not that the accident was attributable to some lack of care on the part of the maintenance company.
EDIT: Case settled, not adjudicated. No finding on liability, either way.
(2) Copy of the judgment.
If there is a full judgment, it may appear online within a few weeks. It may become freely available on websites such as
If not published on the free sites (as may be the case if the decision turns on its facts and raises no legal point), the judgment may become available on various subscription services. The trial transcript and evidence will not usually appear online.
EDIT: no judgment. The Judge merely approved the settlement (this was required because two of the claimants were minors).
You could not effectively preclude your dependents from seeking compensation in ther event of your death. As FD points out, you might not want to, unless assured that your dependents will be well provided for in the event of your death. Judgments of this kind are based on compensation for loss and are not calculated on a punitive principle.
(4) The AAIB report
The AAIB, in addition to the passage quoted above, said this:-
what is not known and could not be established is how the screwdriver found its way into the aircraft. Screwdrivers of this type are used by pilots to carry out normal routine servicing on the aircraft. All the other pilots who flew the aircraft from November 2002 however were able to account for their tools used for this purpose, and the 'Swiss Army' knife normally used by the pilot involved in the accident was recovered. DNA testing however, showed that the pilot had come into contact with the screwdriver at some point prior to the accident but it could not be established when or how this occurred.
A maintenance trainee at the maintenance organisation admitted to losing a screwdriver whose description matched that of the item found. He also stated that he had not used, or been asked to carry out a task requiring, a screwdriver of that type on any aircraft nor had he ever used the lost screwdriver except to open a tin of paint. As his tools were in open toolboxes it is possible for the tool to have been borrowed and used on G-YAKW without his knowledge
In other words, the AAIB reached no conclusion on how the screwdriver came to be inside the aircraft. If the case went to judgment (EDIT: it didn't] , the Judge's task was different from that of the AAIB, and he had to reach a conclusion one way or another, applying the balance of probabilities.