Supreme Court rules TUI customer IS entitled to compensation in landmark holiday sickness case

Supreme Court TUI holiday ruling
By Lisa James
04/12/2023
Home » Supreme Court rules TUI customer IS entitled to compensation in landmark holiday sickness case

The Supreme Court has ruled a man who fell ill nearly 10 years ago while on a holiday he booked through TUI can be compensated.

Peter Griffiths, 61, from Fleet, Hampshire, became unwell during his stay at the five-star Aqua Fantasy Hotel and Spa in Turkey in August 2014, and was taken into hospital.

He alleged that his illness, which continued after he returned home to the UK, was caused as a result of eating at the all-inclusive hotel, but TUI denied liability.

The case went to County Court in 2019, where his claim was substantiated by an expert microbiologist report, which stated that the hotel’s health and hygiene standards caused his illness.

The County Court rejected the report, despite the fact TUI elected not to challenge the expert at trial or present any contrary expert evidence when given the opportunity to do so.

That ruling was then overturned by the High Court, which agreed that the report should stand.

TUI then took the case to the Court of Appeal, which ruled in the operator’s favour.

In June 2023, Peter went to the Supreme Court. Last week, the Supreme Court judgment ruled in Peter’s favour saying that he did not have a fair trial, because TUI failed to challenge his expert evidence on cross-examination and only indicated which parts were to be disputed on the eve of the trial.

The judgment added the expert report relied upon by Peter was sufficient and that on that evidence, he had established his case that the cause of his illness was the hotel’s health and hygiene standards.

Jatinder Paul, Partner and Specialist International Serious Injury Lawyer at law firm Irwin Mitchell, which represented Peter, called the case a ‘David v Goliath legal battle against a tour operator with very deep pockets’.

“We presented expert evidence in the original trial with regard to the cause of Peter’s illness which was not challenged either by cross-examination or via an alternative expert report from the defendant,” he said.

“It was difficult to see how Peter could lose. Following years of litigation, and numerous legal challenges, we’re delighted that the Supreme Court has now ruled that Peter did not receive a fair trial and decided in his favour, as well as clarifying that the expert evidence presented was sufficient to establish that he, on the balance of probabilities, contracted his illness at the hotel due to a breakdown in health and hygiene standards.

“Whilst our objective has always been to secure justice for Peter, and the compensation that he deserves, we are pleased that this landmark judgment has also provided guidance to the Courts on how to grapple with unchallenged expert evidence, and to ensure fairness for all parties at trial.”

Peter said: “I am delighted, but also very relieved, that the Supreme Court has ruled in my favour. Following so many years of litigation, my case has taken a toll on my family and me, but I now feel vindicated that justice has been served by the highest court in the land, allowing us to move on with our lives.

“TUI has not made things easy for us, cynically, they have put obstacles in front of us every step of the way and tried to wear me down, which makes this judgment even more special. Overturning the Court of Appeal judgment has restored and enhanced my confidence in the British judicial system.”

Travel Gossip has approached TUI for a comment.

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