International Injury

Top Tips for Travelling Abroad Post-Brexit

October 3, 2023
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Written by Michael Hagan, Associate & International Injury Solicitor  

While there is uncertainty around travel post-Brexit, there are some sensible steps holidaymakers can take to try and ensure, if the worst happens, they can bring their claims for damages in their home courts and, avoid, as much as possible, the uncertainty created by our exit from the EU; 

  1. Where possible, book an ‘all inclusive’ package holiday with an English tour operator. If you book flights and a hotel separately and are injured at your hotel, you will likely be left having to pursue a claim against the foreign hotel and/or their insurer. However, if you book your holiday to the same hotel, as a package, via an English tour operator (i.e. Jet2, TUI) then, not only will you be able to sue the tour operator directly (rather than the hotel) but English law should also apply to your claim, by virtue of the regulations that governed package holidays. It isn’t always going to be desirable or feasible to book your trip as a package but, given the high level of consumer protection that comes with a package, it is something holidaymakers should do if possible.
  2. If you book a foreign hotel, or excursion whilst abroad, and it costs more than £100, I recommend, if possible, doing this on your credit card. This is because, if something goes wrong, you can sometimes bring a claim for damages against your credit card company who, if various provisions apply, have to ‘stand in the shoes’ of the negligent party, pursuant to Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. Since your credit card company is very likely to be based in your home country, you will be able to sue them in the English Court, rather than the foreign defendant, thus removing the jurisdictional uncertainty that would otherwise prevail. 
  3. If you are injured during a trip or excursion booked with a foreign supplier, another potential way of bringing your claim in the English court is to show that the contract between you and the foreign supplier was a ‘consumer contract.’ This type of claim will require careful analysis by an experienced travel solicitor, in order to determine the merits, but if you do go on any excursions, always try to keep hold of any promotional materials given to you by the company. This is because one important aspect of a consumer contract claim is showing that the company ‘directed their commercial activities’ towards holidaymakers from your home country. Promotional materials, details of the website address of the company can therefore be important evidence in these types of claims. 
  4. If you are booking an international flight or a cruise, it is likely that international agreements such as the Montreal and Athens Conventions will apply to the journey. These conventions are consumer-friendly, in that they give a number of different options to a Claimant as to where to bring their claim, and it is normally possible, in such cases, to find a way to bring your claim in the Courts of England & Wales. 

Taking these steps, and being aware of the difficulties, and potential solutions to the jurisdiction issue, should help holidaymakers, in the unlikely event that they suffer an accident abroad, and may be the difference between being able to pursue your claim in your home courts, or having to look to a foreign court to obtain justice. 

If you’ve had an accident abroad, get specialist advice – speak to our International Injury Team on 0330 013 0247 or contact us online 

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