Coronavirus mini-series: (9) frustration and force majeure – a guide for the travel industry

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a near complete cessation in tourism across the globe. The effects of this for consumers and commercial parties alike are far-reaching and are likely to continue into the foreseeable future.

For commercial bodies operating in the industry and considering their position, force majeure clauses and the doctrine of frustration are likely to become key. This article, by William Audland QC, Max Archer, and Spencer Turner, seeks to examine both aspects of contract law in the light of the pandemic. Continue reading “Coronavirus mini-series: (9) frustration and force majeure – a guide for the travel industry”

Package travel, aviation, and the role of local law

In Palaiokrassus & Tsakou v Black and Green Trading Limited (Unreported) 7 April 2020, QBD, Master Thornett dismissed an application to set aside default judgment brought under CPR r. 13.9 and r. 3.9. The case concerned claims for personal injuries suffered in an air crash which occurred during a package holiday in Ethiopia. In dismissing the application, Master Thornett set out reasons that will be of interest to aviation and travel practitioners.

This blog is by Max Archer, who appeared for the Claimants on instruction by Stewarts Law. Continue reading “Package travel, aviation, and the role of local law”

Coronavirus mini-series: (3) furlough and companies in administration

Businesses in the international travel industry have been among the hardest hit by the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Many of those businesses are likely to face difficult choices in the coming weeks and months, including, in some extreme cases, whether to go into administration.

In this blog post, Cressida Mawdesley-Thomas and Tim Goodwin of 12 King’s Bench Walk look at a decision handed down on Easter Monday by Mr Justice Snowden, which provides some helpful and timely guidance as to how the CJRS operates in the particular context of companies going into administration.

The latest government guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the “CJRS”) is available here. HM Treasury’s direction to HMRC regarding the application of the CJRS can be found here. Continue reading “Coronavirus mini-series: (3) furlough and companies in administration”

Coronavirus mini-series: (2) legislation

With the country in a state of almost total lockdown, now is as good a time as any to consider the extraordinary legislation brought in by the government to tackle the Coronavirus pandemic and its implications for the international travel industry. This blog post, by Spencer Turner of 12 King’s Bench Walk, is the second in our mini-series on this subject. Continue reading “Coronavirus mini-series: (2) legislation”

Coronavirus mini-series: (1) package travel industry

This blog is by Christopher Fleming of 12 King’s Bench Walk. It is the first in a new mini-series considering the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the international travel industry from a litigation perspective. Christopher considers the following issue:

The restrictions on travel arising from attempts to halt the spread of COVID-19 pose an existential threat to the package travel industry. What obligations do tour operators have to provide refunds or alternative arrangements following cancellations in these circumstances? Continue reading “Coronavirus mini-series: (1) package travel industry”

The Bolam test in package travel cases

This blog post is by Nick Parkinson, a solicitor at Travlaw LLP.

Nick considers the case of Morris v TUI UK Limited (Unreported) Wrexham County Court, 31 May 2019. This is the first known instance of the courts applying the ‘Bolam test’ (Bolam v Friern Hospital Management Committee [1957] 1 WLR 582) in relation to accidents abroad under the Package Travel Regulations. Although it was not decisive in this case, the potential implications are significant. Will Claimant local standards experts have to confirm that a supplier’s practices do not fall within a reasonable body of opinion if the point is taken? This may not be easy, particularly in cases with more “fluid” standards than building regulations or statutory codes of practice. Continue reading “The Bolam test in package travel cases”

Thomas Cook mini-series – (3) a new statutory compensation scheme?

Yesterday, Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom made an oral statement concerning Thomas Cook to the House of Commons.

Noting that Thomas Cook had self-insured in respect of all but the most serious personal injury claims, she announced that, after the imminent general election, the government intended to set up a statutory compensation scheme for those left without redress.

The key features of the scheme described are:

  • It will be “a capped fund, sufficient to ensure there is support for those customers facing the most serious hardship as a result of injuries or illness for which UK-based Thomas Cook companies would have been liable”.
  • Measures will be developed to ensure the scheme only responds to genuine claims.
  • The scheme will not consider “routine claims covering short-term problems”.

The full text of the statement is available here.