Virgin Holidays to challenge hotel liability claim

Virgin Holiday is appealing the court decision by a holidaymaker who claimed compensation for injuries after walking into a plate glass door in her bikini, The Telegraph has reported.

Moira Japp, was on the balcony of her suite at the Crystal Cove Hotel, in Barbados, and was wearing only her swimsuit, when she accidentally walked into the closed French windows leading into her room. The glass shattered and she suffered deep cuts all over her body.

Mrs. Japp sued Virgin Holidays in 2012. The operator was ordered to pay the 53-year-old £24,000 in damages, as it was judged that it should have ensured that the hotel was safe.

Virgin Holidays is challenging the decision at the Court of Appeal, saying that if upheld, the judgment would ‘create great difficulties for the tourist industry’ in applying British health and safety standards to foreign countries.

Sarah Prager, the lawyer representing Virgin Holidays, said in the Telegraph: ‘Travel agents, when they send people off abroad, if they are told that facilities have to comply with English notions of reasonableness that is going to create great difficulties for the English tourist industry in general.

‘Exporting English standards of reasonableness would give rise to lack of clarity – some nations are more risk averse than others.’

However Andrew Spencer, representing Mrs Japp, argued, saying: ‘When people book a package holiday, they are entitled to expect that the facilities are not unsafe.’

Mrs Japp, from Worthing, West Sussex, said: ‘It was a very small balcony and I am a very small person, and you don’t get much momentum going by walking about three feet. I was cut all over.’

Simon Lomax, a specialist in travel law, reportedly said that the cost of such claims was likely to be passed on to consumers in the form of price increases by holiday groups.

Judges are set to decide on the appeal at a later date.