In 2010, Mr and Mrs X took a holiday in Sri Lanka, which nine years later has resulted in a claim being heard before the Supreme Court. This is the first case to consider the proper interpretation of the organiser’s liability for the improper performance of its contractual obligations under the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 to make it this far.
It is somewhat ironic that it should do so after this legislation has been repealed and the UK is at the point of leaving the EU. However, the ultimate conclusion will still be of importance given that the replacement Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 are set to remain part of UK law for the foreseeable future.
In short, the facts that led to the claim against Kuoni are these. During the early hours of 17 July 2010, Mrs X was making her way from her room to the hotel reception through the grounds. The reasons behind her solitary expedition at this time of night are somewhat opaque. However, what is clear is that she came across a hotel employee who is referred to in the proceedings as ‘N’.
N was on duty and wearing his uniform. Mrs X says she believed he was a security guard on the basis that he had previously told her so. He was, in fact, an electrician. Their paths had crossed earlier that evening. He offered to show her a short cut to reception. In the course of doing so, it was accepted by the defendant that he took her into a plant room and there raped her.
Subsequent to the assault, the hotel manager conducted an impromptu, somewhat bizarre identity parade in the claimant’s hotel room during which she picked out N as her assailant. However, when the police later conducted their own parade, Mrs X was unable to do so. It appears that no criminal proceedings were brought against N.
On her return from holiday, Mrs X brought a claim against Kuoni for breach of contract and under the 1992 Regulations. The damages sought were initially put at £450,000. She sued on the basis that the sexual assault on her by N, the hotel’s employee who was on duty at the time, amounted to improper performance of Kuoni’s contractual obligations.