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


At present the Supreme Court docket has handed down its Judgment on this lengthy working case, and in plain phrases, Woman Brownlie has gained the Enchantment.

The total Judgment is 134 pages lengthy, and may 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 resort. They had been accompanied by Sir Ian’s daughter Rebecca who lived in Egypt, and her two younger kids. The tour took the celebration 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 had been passengers within the car, so it couldn’t presumably 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 proper company entity inside the 4 Seasons Group to be named as Defendant, however we hoped that we would 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 had been based mostly 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 distinct path. They refused to co-operate with us in figuring out the proper company entity, and so they additionally challenged jurisdiction. Chopping a protracted story quick, this resulted within the case going by way of the Excessive Court docket twice, the Court docket of Enchantment twice, and the Supreme Court docket twice – most latterly in January of this yr.

It’s in that Enchantment that the Court docket at the moment offers it’s Judgment, and Woman Brownlie has gained 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 way of the “jurisdictional gateways” that may enable the English Court docket to listen to it. 

On the Claimant’s facet, our reply has been that the foundations are clear and thus the English Court docket does have jurisdiction to listen to the case. The Defence group disagreed, and due to this fact we have now spent almost 10 years locked in a protracted and more and more complicated authorized debate.

The Supreme Court docket has taken the chance to evaluate among the earlier selections by the English Courts, and to affirm their authority. Subsequently, not solely is it a vindication for Woman Brownlie, additionally it is 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’s going to quickly be resolved, as we might anticipate for a case that’s at coronary heart so troublesome 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 regulation?
There is no such thing as a exact definition in regulation, and a journey declare can embody every part 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 damage and medical negligence circumstances, and the journey circumstances that we cope with mirror that.  As on this specific case the place our consumer suffered severe damage 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 celebration, so it’s their insurance coverage firm that has to pay. That stated, if 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 resolution has made it simpler for them to deliver claims within the English Courts. The foundations have all the time allowed this, however the Defendants, on this case, introduced an Enchantment which stated that the foundations had been misapplied in among the earlier circumstances and that it ought to in actual fact be rather more troublesome to get a declare into the English Courts.

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

6. Are there completely different guidelines for European and non-European nations?
Sure. The reply to that is sophisticated, 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 planet.

7. If I’ve an accident overseas, who do I sue?
The easy reply is that you just sue the individual or firm accountable. As with a declare within the UK, you’ll need to guarantee that that individual both has the means to pay your compensation or authorized prices or has an insurance coverage coverage for that goal. Usually that signifies that the declare both needs to be towards an enormous firm, corresponding to a resort chain, or a driver with full automotive insurance coverage.

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

9. Do I’ve to examine the high-quality print earlier than I guide a vacation?
Sure it’s best to, and while you guide a bundle vacation you’ll usually discover that the situations make it very clear that the UK tour firm is solely appearing as an agent for a overseas resort, so it’s not a real bundle vacation and any declare will nonetheless must be towards the resort.

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

  • Wherever attainable buy a “bundle vacation” from a good UK operator.
  • Test the phrases and situations to guarantee that the bundle contains flights, lodging and any actions through the vacation.
  • Be sure that your vacation supplier is backed by an ABTA assure.
  • Be cautious of discovering the most affordable attainable offers on-line, and of reserving instantly with people in different nations, or small corporations. Should you do, enquire about their insurance coverage preparations.
  • Take out journey insurance coverage, and guarantee that 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 affordable.
  • In case you are injured while on vacation then attempt to collect as a lot proof as attainable on the time, or ask a member of the family to do that in your behalf. For instance, take images, and make notes of the time and place. You also needs to report the accident to the native authorities as shortly as attainable.
  • When you will have returned to England you’ll need to talk to a specialist journey lawyer as quickly as attainable.
  • Though you can be planning to deliver a declare within the English Court docket it’s best to take into consideration whether or not you may be higher to sue within the nation wherein the accident occurred. Subsequently, both you or your English lawyer in your behalf might want to examine the closing dates and any particular guidelines that apply in these nations.



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



Terrence Donovan is the Head of the Medical Negligence and Private Damage Division. He has a nationwide popularity and is without doubt one of the most revered and senior solicitors within the subject.



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