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Brownlie v 4 Seasons Group | Medical Negligence and Private Damage Weblog

Right this moment the Supreme Court docket has handed down its Judgment on this lengthy operating case, and in plain phrases, Woman Brownlie has received the Attraction.

The total Judgment is 134 pages lengthy, and might be learn, together with the Court docket’s Press Launch.

In 2010, Woman Brownlie and her husband, the distinguished worldwide lawyer Sir Ian Brownlie QC, went to Egypt. While staying on the 4 Seasons Lodge in Cairo they went on a “Desert Safari Tour” which was organised by the lodge. They have been accompanied by Sir Ian’s daughter Rebecca who lived in Egypt, and her two younger kids. The tour took the social gathering over tough terrain, and their car overturned. Tragically, each Sir Ian and Rebecca died, and Woman Brownlie sustained severe accidents.

Woman Brownlie returned to the UK, and shortly afterwards she instructed Kingsley Napley to begin authorized proceedings. We anticipated it to be a comparatively simple case. First, the Brownlies have been passengers within the car, so it couldn’t probably have been their fault. Second, the proposed Defendant, the 4 Seasons Lodge chain, is a considerable worldwide enterprise with vital presence within the UK.

We despatched a Letter of Declare to the Head Workplaces of the Defendant, that are in Canada. We anticipated there to be some dialogue about jurisdiction, and the right company entity inside the 4 Seasons Group to be named as Defendant, however we hoped that we’d quickly transfer to settlement negotiations with the Defendant’s insurance coverage firm. This was as a result of there might be no defence on legal responsibility, and Sir Ian and Woman Brownlie have been primarily based within the UK. Thus the losses to his property, and Woman Brownlie’s dependency all arose on this jurisdiction.

Sadly, the 4 Seasons Group selected a unique path. They refused to co-operate with us in figuring out the right company entity, they usually additionally challenged jurisdiction. Reducing an extended story quick, this resulted within the case going by the Excessive Court docket twice, the Court docket of Attraction twice, and the Supreme Court docket twice – most latterly in January of this yr.

It’s in that Attraction that the Court docket in the present day offers it’s Judgment, and Woman Brownlie has received with a convincing 4 – 1 majority.

This 10 yr authorized battle has not been concerning the substantive case. It has been involved with a a lot narrower level of whether or not the case passes by the “jurisdictional gateways” that can enable the English Court docket to listen to it. 

On the Claimant’s aspect, our reply has been that the principles are clear and thus the English Court docket does have jurisdiction to listen to the case. The Defence staff disagreed, and subsequently we’ve got spent practically 10 years locked in a protracted and more and more advanced authorized debate.

The Supreme Court docket has taken the chance to overview a number of the earlier choices by the English Courts, and to affirm their authority. Subsequently, not solely is it a vindication for Woman Brownlie, it’s also very useful to different claimants who could discover themselves in a equally tragic scenario.

The case will now return to the Excessive Court docket, and it’s to be hoped that it’ll quickly be resolved, as we might anticipate for a case that’s at coronary heart so tough to defend.

FAQs – What does this imply for travellers and vacationers?

1. What’s a journey declare, and does the phrase have a exact which means in legislation?
There is no such thing as a exact definition in legislation, and a journey declare can embrace all the things from reimbursement for the price of a vacation that’s ruined as a result of the lodging is substandard to severe private accidents arising on account of issues like automotive accidents, office accidents or medical negligence in a overseas hospital.

2. What kind of journey claims do you cope with?
At Kingsley Napley we concentrate on solely severe private harm and medical negligence circumstances, and the journey circumstances that we cope with replicate that.  As on this specific case the place our consumer suffered severe harm in a highway accident in Egypt and her husband tragically died.

3. Can I deliver a journey declare if I don’t have journey insurance coverage?
Sure. The claims that we cope with are these the place you’re suing a 3rd social gathering, so it’s their insurance coverage firm that has to pay. That stated, in case you have journey insurance coverage, you might also be entitled to no-fault compensation from your individual insurers.

4. What does this case imply for individuals who have the misfortune to be killed or injured in overseas accidents?
The Supreme Court docket’s determination has made it simpler for them to deliver claims within the English Courts. The principles have all the time allowed this, however the Defendants, on this case, introduced an Attraction which stated that the principles had been misapplied in a number of the earlier circumstances and that it ought to in reality be far more tough to get a declare into the English Courts.

5. So does that imply that there’s a new legislation?
No. The aim of the Supreme Court docket is to have a clearer interpretation of the legislation because it stands. It has stated that if an English individual is injured or killed in a overseas accident (outdoors of the previous EU) and suffers bodily or monetary harm on this nation, then the “jurisdictional gateway” shall be open to them, they usually can deliver their declare within the English Courts.

6. Are there completely different guidelines for European and non-European international locations?
Sure. The reply to that is difficult, due to the transitional preparations involving Britain’s departure from the European Union, however in essence, European circumstances nonetheless have completely different guidelines. This specific solely applies to these arising elsewhere on the earth.

7. If I’ve an accident overseas, who do I sue?
The easy reply is that you simply sue the individual or firm accountable. As with a declare within the UK, you have to to make it possible for that individual both has the means to pay your compensation or authorized prices or has an insurance coverage coverage for that objective. Usually that signifies that the declare both needs to be in opposition to a giant firm, reminiscent of a lodge chain, or a driver with full automotive insurance coverage.

8. Is it ever potential to deliver a declare in opposition to an English Journey Firm?
Sure it’s. For many people, our holidays are “bundle holidays of 1 kind or one other, and because of this claims are coated by the Package deal Journey Laws of 1992. In essence, these rules say that if you happen to e book a vacation by a bundle tour firm like Thomsons, and one thing goes unsuitable on that vacation, you don’t have to fret about suing your lodge, you simply sue Thomsons within the UK and their insurers have to fulfill any declare.

9. Do I’ve to verify the high quality print earlier than I e book a vacation?
Sure it is best to, and whenever you e book a bundle vacation you’ll typically discover that the circumstances make it very clear that the UK tour firm is solely appearing as an agent for a overseas lodge, so it’s not a real bundle vacation and any declare will nonetheless should be in opposition to the lodge.

10. You’re a lawyer who offers with journey claims.  Has it put you off occurring vacation?
No, under no circumstances. I might although advise you to comply with some common sense measures, that are as follows:-

  • Wherever potential buy a “bundle vacation” from a good UK operator.
  • Examine the phrases and circumstances to make it possible for the bundle contains flights, lodging and any actions in the course of the vacation.
  • Be certain that your vacation supplier is backed by an ABTA assure.
  • Be cautious of discovering the most cost effective potential offers on-line, and of reserving instantly with people in different international locations, or small corporations. When you do, enquire about their insurance coverage preparations.
  • Take out journey insurance coverage, and make it possible for it’s nonetheless legitimate on the time of your vacation, and that it covers the nation and/or actions that you can be collaborating in on vacation. Not all insurance coverage insurance policies are the identical, and it may be a mistake to go for the most cost effective.
  • In case you are injured while on vacation then attempt to collect as a lot proof as potential on the time, or ask a member of the family to do that in your behalf. For instance, take pictures, and make notes of the time and place. You must also report the accident to the native authorities as rapidly as potential.
  • When you’ve got returned to England you have to to talk to a specialist journey lawyer as quickly as potential.
  • Though you can be planning to deliver a declare within the English Court docket it is best to take into consideration whether or not you is likely to be higher to sue within the nation wherein the accident occurred. Subsequently, both you or your English lawyer in your behalf might want to verify the closing dates and any particular guidelines that apply in these international locations.



If you want any additional info or recommendation concerning the subject mentioned on this weblog, please contact our Medical Negligence and Private Damage staff at [email protected] 



Terrence Donovan is the Head of the Medical Negligence and Private Damage Division. He has a nationwide repute and is likely one of the most revered and senior solicitors within the area.




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