A British lady who was sexually assaulted by a lodge employee on a package deal vacation has gained her Supreme Court enchantment, in a judgment of ‘major importance to the travel industry’.
In 2010, the appellant – referred to as Mrs X – and her husband entered right into a contract with tour operator Kuoni for a package deal vacation in Sri Lanka. While on the vacation, Mrs X was attacked by an on-duty lodge worker, who mentioned he would present her a shortcut again to reception. As a substitute, he lured her into an engineering room the place he raped and assaulted her.
Mrs X subsequently introduced a declare for damages towards Kuoni. She claimed that the rape and assault had been a breach of the contract and/or gave rise to legal responsibility below the contract and the Travel, Bundle Holidays and Bundle Excursions Rules 1992.
In X v Kuoni Travel Ltd, Supreme Court judges led by Lord Lloyd-Jones unanimously allowed her enchantment, taking a ‘broad view’ of the obligations owed by tour operators below package deal vacation contracts. It determined that the obligations embody not solely the availability of transport, lodging and meals, but additionally a variety of ‘ancillary services’ that are essential for the availability of a vacation of an inexpensive commonplace.
‘Kuoni objects that [the hotel worker] was not providing a service within the package travel contract but pursuing a criminal enterprise when he raped and assaulted Mrs X,’ Lord Lloyd-Jones wrote.
‘It seems to me, however, that the correct focus here should be the provision of the service of guiding a guest. This fell within the “holiday arrangements” which Kuoni undertook would be provided. [The hotel worker] was able to assault Mrs X only as a result of purporting to act as her guide. Furthermore, the assault was a failure to provide that guiding service with due care.’
The Supreme Court additionally rejected the defence below the 1992 package deal travel laws that ‘even with all due care’ Kuoni couldn’t have foreseen or forestalled the rape. This adopted a 2021 determination from the Court of Justice of the European Union which mentioned the defence doesn’t apply the place a failure to carry out obligations below a package deal travel contract is ‘the result of acts or omissions of employees of suppliers of services performing those obligations’.
The courtroom accordingly concluded that Kuoni is liable to Mrs X each for breach of contract and below the 1992 package deal vacation laws.
James Riley of Irwin Mitchell – which represented Mrs X – mentioned the judgment is of ‘major importance’ to the broader travel industry. ‘The judgment provides clarity to tour operators regarding their legal obligations.’ he mentioned.
Claire Mulligan, associate and head of travel at Kennedys, added that tour operators will want to fastidiously assessment reserving phrases and situations to be certain that their legal responsibility doesn’t lengthen past the vacation preparations they’ve agreed to present.