Court of Appeal refuses remedy to holidaymaker assaulted by hotel staff

In X v Kuoni Travel Ltd [2018] EWCA Civ 938, Mrs X sought to recover damages from the tour operator arising out of her sexual assault at the hands of a hotel employee whilst she was on holiday in Sri Lanka.  The employee, an electrician, had suggested to Mrs X that there was a faster route to reception but guided her into the engineering room where he attacked her.   The Court of Appeal by a majority (The Master of the Rolls and Asplin LJ) dismissed Mrs X’s appeal, holding that the employee’s action, in guiding Mrs X, did not fall within the holiday arrangements that Mrs X had contracted for as it was no part of the function for which he was employed.   The majority further held that the tour operator had a complete defence under Regulation 15 of the Package Tour Regs 1992.

Longmore LJ, dissenting, recognised that the employee’s act of guiding did form part of the services that Mrs X had contracted for, that they were not of a reasonable standard and that Reg15(2)(iii)(b) did not provide a defence for the tour operator.

The consequences of this judgment for holidaymakers are severe.

Rob Weir QC acted on behalf of Mrs X with Katherine Deal of 3 Hare Court, instructed by Phil Banks of Irwin Mitchell.

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