Coronavirus mini-series: (5) holiday refunds and consumer rights

This blog by Cressida Mawdesley-Thomas of 12 King’s Bench Walk highlights that travellers’ rights to refunds under the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 (“PTR 2018”) have not changed.

There has been no official guidance from the European Commission on the Package Travel Directive 2015 in the context of COVID-19. However, the guidance issued by ABTA (formerly the Association of British Travel Agents), a trade body which offers “advice and guidance to you, the travelling public, as well as leading the travel industry”, is arguably inconsistent with the position in law, which remains that travellers still have a right to a refund within 14 days if the travel provider cancels the trip on account of COVID-19. In England and Wales these rights can only be abrogated by retrospective legislation.

Retrospective legislation is rare and involves Government and Parliament carefully weighing up competing public interests. While travellers’ rights have been subject to amendment in some European countries, they have not yet been in England and Wales. In a sea of misinformation, travellers need to know their right to a refund is unchanged. Continue reading “Coronavirus mini-series: (5) holiday refunds and consumer rights”

Coronavirus mini-series: (4) Foreign Process Section

Yesterday, Senior Master Fontaine issued guidance in relation to the work of the Foreign Process Section of the Queen’s Bench Division during the coronavirus pandemic.

In summary:

  • The FPS is unable to process tracked postal service requests. Service of judicial and extra-judicial documents is suspended.
  • The processing of requests for service of court documents on parties out of the jurisdiction is also suspended.
  • Parties can attempt service without the involvement of the FPS in compliance with the Service Regulation, the Hague Service Convention or any other relevant bi-lateral treaty.
  • Service in a country which requires service through foreign governments, judicial authorities or British Consular authorities, which would normally be transmitted through the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, is suspended.
  • Examinations of witnesses in respect of requests received from foreign courts are generally suspended.
  • Requests for registration of foreign judgments are not being processed.

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”

Supreme Court rules on “weaker party” in cross-border insurance claims

Although the Supreme Court’s rulings on vicarious liability and surrogacy costs may have stolen the limelight yesterday, eagle-eyed readers will have spotted the important jurisdiction decision in Aspen Underwriting Ltd & Ors v Credit Europe Bank NV [2020] UKSC 11. The Supreme Court, in overruling the Court of Appeal, made important comments on identification of the “weaker party” for the purposes of the insurance provisions of the Brussels Regulations. Continue reading “Supreme Court rules on “weaker party” in cross-border insurance claims”

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”

Strike out hearing in oil spill representative action

In a previous post on Jalla & Ors v Royal Dutch Shell Plc & Ors [2020] EWHC 459 (TCC), a case concerning an oil spill off the coast of Nigeria, we noted that, unusually, the litigation had been brought as a representative action under CPR Part 19.

This was commented on by the judge, who noted that there could be serious issues in respect of the requirement for all the claimants to have suffered the “same damage” (based on the Court of Appeal’s restrictive approach in Lloyd v Google LLC [2019] EWCA Civ 1599 at [73]–[81]).

These comments have now been seized upon by the Defendant, who has suggested that the claim should be struck out on a number of grounds, including that “the action is not a “representative action” because there is insufficient identity of interest between the Claimants”.

The judge in a short judgment has directed that the application for strike out will be dealt with at a hearing at the end of May 2020.

A new source of civil law rights in claims against multinationals?

In Nevsun Resources Ltd. v. Araya, 2020 SCC 5, the Supreme Court of Canada held that peremptory norms of international law could in principle be enforced against a corporate entity in a civil claim for damages. The decision – which can properly be described as groundbreaking – is well worth reading in full. Max Archer and James Beeton of 12 King’s Bench Walk consider its implications for cross-border litigation involving corporate entities in the courts of England and Wales. Continue reading “A new source of civil law rights in claims against multinationals?”

Foreign language witness statements: new procedural requirements

The Master of the Rolls has made the 113th update to the Practice Directions supporting the CPR. The amendments specific to foreign language witness statements are due to come into force on 6 April 2020. In this post, Sam Cuthbert, a pupil at 12 King’s Bench Walk, outlines how these amendments will affect the procedural requirements for foreign language witness statements. Continue reading “Foreign language witness statements: new procedural requirements”