CJEU Finds Tour Operator Kuoni May Be Legally Responsible For Worker’s Conduct
A British woman who was sexually assaulted by a hotel employee on a package holiday has taken a major step forward in her battle for justice after the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg (CJEU) clarified that a package tour operator is not excused from the obligation of proper performance of a holiday contract where a hotel employee’s acts are both the reason for the breach and the reason for the alleged exemption.
The CJEU has today handed down judgment in the case involving the woman who has brought legal proceedings against Kuoni Travel Ltd.
The woman, in her 40s and who cannot be named for legal reasons, was sexually assaulted while on holiday by an on-duty hotel employee who had said that he would show her back to her reception at the resort in Sri Lanka.
Woman asks lawyers for help after Sri Lanka holiday sexual assault
She instructed Irwin Mitchell’s specialist International Serious Injury team to launch a legal case against Kuoni. Her legal team argue that the package tour operator is liable for the attack as the man was on duty at the time and was guiding her within the resort as part of the package.
In 2019 the Supreme Court asked the CJEU to clarify the law on several issues in the case.
The CJEU has today ruled that the travel firm may be legally responsible for the conduct of the worker who was employed by the hotel in Sri Lanka and was providing a service on behalf of the tour operator.
Woman's legal team welcome CJEU ruling
The case now returns to the Supreme Court, which will determine the woman’s appeal and will rule finally whether Kuoni is liable to her for the assault carried out by the hotel employee.
Expert Opinion“The terrible ordeal that our client went through has had a profound effect on not only her life but also her family. To this day she’s still greatly impacted by what happened.
“While nothing can ever make up for the hurt and suffering that our client has gone through, we welcome today’s judgment by the CJEU.
"This ruling is a major milestone in our client’s pursuit of justice. It also clarifies an important area of law which could help others in similar situations to our client. We will continue to support our client and her family as we await a final ruling from the Supreme Court.” James Riley - Associate Solicitor
The incident happened in Sri Lanka in 2010.
During legal proceedings the High Court and the Court of Appeal ruled in the tour operator’s favour on the three main facets of the case. However, following a hearing in the Supreme Court in April 2019, the Justices declined to decide the appeal without first obtaining input from the CJEU.
CJEU asked to clarify law after woman attacked on holiday
In July 2019 the Supreme Court handed down a preliminary judgment asking the CJEU to assume in the woman’s favour the case she had always maintained, namely that the hotel worker was performing a service under the package contract in guiding her across the grounds prior to the assault. The Supreme Court asked the CJEU to clarify the law on several further issues in the case.
The CJEU was asked to adjudicate on the case as the cause of action being pursued by the women is based upon regulations that originated from EU law.
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