Court of Appeal upholds liability of holiday companies for hotel food to be of ‘satisfactory quality’

News | Mon 16th Jan, 2017

The court has considered the liability of holiday company First Choice for sickness suffered by two holidaymakers in the Dominican Republic as a result of food and drink at the hotel, which was the only place they ate and drank while on holiday. A county court judge had decided that the hotel had taken all reasonable precautions to ensure that the food and drink were safe, but that nevertheless the couple had been ill from what they ate or drank. The trial judge had held that the holiday company who had offered the all-inclusive holiday were liable for the food and drink being of ‘satisfactory quality’ whether there was fault or not. He did so on the basis that a term to that effect was implied into the contract by S4 of the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982.

First Choice appealed and the Court of Appeal have upheld the decision of the judge below that the implied term in S4 did apply. Liability had therefore been made out under the statutory term and an alternative argument that a term would be applied at common law did not have to be considered. The court pointed out, however, that this did not amount to strict liability for all holiday bugs, and claimants would have to prove that the hotel food they consumed was below a satisfactory quality and that that had caused their illness.

Grahame Aldous QC of 9 Gough Chambers was taken in to conduct the appeal in the Court of Appeal.

Find the judgment here.

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