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

Right this moment the Supreme Courtroom has handed down its Judgment on this lengthy operating case, and in plain phrases, Girl Brownlie has gained the Attraction.

The complete Judgment is 134 pages lengthy, and will be learn, together with the Courtroom’s Press Launch.

In 2010, Girl Brownlie and her husband, the distinguished worldwide lawyer Sir Ian Brownlie QC, went to Egypt. While staying on the 4 Seasons Resort in Cairo they went on a “Desert Safari Tour” which was organised by the resort. They have been accompanied by Sir Ian’s daughter Rebecca who lived in Egypt, and her two younger kids. The tour took the social gathering over tough terrain, and their car overturned. Tragically, each Sir Ian and Rebecca died, and Girl Brownlie sustained severe accidents.

Girl Brownlie returned to the UK, and shortly afterwards she instructed Kingsley Napley to begin authorized proceedings. We anticipated it to be a comparatively easy case. First, the Brownlies have been passengers within the car, so it couldn’t presumably have been their fault. Second, the proposed Defendant, the 4 Seasons Resort chain, is a considerable worldwide enterprise with important presence within the UK.

We despatched a Letter of Declare to the Head Places of work 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 Girl Brownlie have been based mostly within the UK. Thus the losses to his property, and Girl Brownlie’s dependency all arose on this jurisdiction.

Sadly, the 4 Seasons Group selected a unique path. They refused to co-operate with us in figuring out the proper company entity, they usually additionally challenged jurisdiction. Slicing an extended story brief, this resulted within the case going by way of the Excessive Courtroom twice, the Courtroom of Attraction twice, and the Supreme Courtroom twice – most latterly in January of this 12 months.

It’s in that Attraction that the Courtroom at this time offers it’s Judgment, and Girl Brownlie has gained with a powerful 4 – 1 majority.

This 10 12 months 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 can enable the English Courtroom to listen to it. 

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

The Supreme Courtroom has taken the chance to evaluate a few of the earlier selections by the English Courts, and to affirm their authority. Subsequently, not solely is it a vindication for Girl Brownlie, additionally it is very useful to different claimants who might discover themselves in a equally tragic scenario.

The case will now return to the Excessive Courtroom, and it’s to be hoped that it’ll quickly be resolved, as we’d count on 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 that means in legislation?
There isn’t a exact definition in legislation, and a journey declare can embody all the pieces 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 automobile accidents, office accidents or scientific negligence in a overseas hospital.

2. What kind of journey claims do you cope with?
At Kingsley Napley we specialize in solely severe private harm and scientific negligence circumstances, and the journey circumstances that we cope with mirror that.  As on this explicit case the place our shopper suffered severe harm in a highway accident in Egypt and her husband tragically died.

3. Can I carry a journey declare if I don’t have journey insurance coverage?
Sure. The claims that we cope with are these the place you might be suing a 3rd social gathering, so it’s their insurance coverage firm that has to pay. That mentioned, in case you have journey insurance coverage, you may additionally 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 Courtroom’s determination has made it simpler for them to carry claims within the English Courts. The principles have at all times allowed this, however the Defendants, on this case, introduced an Attraction which mentioned that the foundations had been misapplied in a few of the earlier circumstances and that it ought to in truth be far more troublesome to get a declare into the English Courts.

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

6. Are there completely different guidelines for European and non-European international locations?
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 explicit solely applies to these arising elsewhere on the earth.

7. If I’ve an accident overseas, who do I sue?
The straightforward reply is that you simply sue the individual or firm accountable. As with a declare within the UK, you have to to make it possible for that individual both has the means to pay your compensation or authorized prices or has an insurance coverage coverage for that goal. Sometimes that signifies that the declare both must be towards a giant firm, corresponding to a resort chain, or a driver with full automobile insurance coverage.

8. Is it ever attainable to carry a declare towards an English Journey Firm?
Sure it’s. For many people, our holidays are “package deal holidays of 1 type or one other, and which means claims are coated by the Bundle Journey Rules of 1992. In essence, these rules say that if you happen to ebook a vacation by way of a package deal tour firm like Thomsons, and one thing goes incorrect 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 satisfy any declare.

9. Do I’ve to test the tremendous print earlier than I ebook a vacation?
Sure it’s best to, and once you ebook a package deal vacation you’ll usually discover that the situations make it very clear that the UK tour firm is just appearing as an agent for a overseas resort, so it isn’t a real package deal vacation and any declare will nonetheless need to be towards the resort.

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

  • Wherever attainable buy a “package deal vacation” from a good UK operator.
  • Verify the phrases and situations to make it possible for the package deal contains flights, lodging and any actions throughout the vacation.
  • Be certain 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 international locations, or small firms. If you happen to do, enquire about their insurance coverage preparations.
  • Take out journey insurance coverage, and make it possible for 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 rapidly as attainable.
  • When you have got returned to England you have to to talk to a specialist journey lawyer as quickly as attainable.
  • Though you can be planning to carry a declare within the English Courtroom it’s best to take into consideration whether or not you could be higher to sue within the nation by which the accident occurred. Subsequently, both you or your English lawyer in your behalf might want to test the deadlines and any particular guidelines that apply in these international locations.



If you want any additional data or recommendation concerning the matter mentioned on this weblog, please contact our Medical Negligence and Private Harm group at 



Terrence Donovan is the Head of the Medical Negligence and Private Harm Division. He has a nationwide popularity and is among the most revered and senior solicitors within the subject.




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