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Mawdsley v Cosmos Air Plc

23 April 2002
The issues

Holidays – Package Holidays and Package Tour Regulations 1992 – stairs.

The facts

The Claimant booked a holiday in Turkey from Cosmos. She and her husband were going down stairs carrying their daughter in a pushchair, when she fell. It appeared that she lost her footing. No exact cause was established. The Claimant argued that Cosmos was liable for the injuries on the basis that the brochure stated that the hotel restaurant was accessible via a lift. It was not. Further, the brochure said the hotel was suitable for children. Claimant said it was not. A breach of duty under Regulation 4 of the Package, Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tour Regulations 1992 was alleged. In addition, the Claimant sued in misrepresentation and for breach of contract. Cosmos argued that it was not reasonably foreseeable that personal injuries would come from merely descending stairs, about which there was nothing dangerous in themselves. The Judge at first instance found that the hotel was unsuitable for children because there was so many steps that would be needed to descend or climb in order to get to the restaurant. He found that it was foreseeable that the Claimant would lose her footing whilst descending the stairs two or three times a day carrying a child’s pushchair. He found it reasonable for the Claimant to assume that the phrase “lifts (in main building)” in the brochure implied access to everything including the restaurant.

The Defendant appealed.

The decision

1. The Judge’s interpretation of the phrase in the brochure was correct.

2. His conclusion that because there was no lift, it was therefore unsuitable for young children was wrong.

3. The Judge had been correct to find that there was no intervening causative act in that the Claimant could not be said to have conducted herself unreasonably or negligently.

4. There was a sufficient link between the fact that the restaurant had been misrepresented as accessible by lift and the fact that that misrepresentation caused the accident. The Judge’s conclusion that there was a causal connection was correct.

Appeal dismissed.

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