I understand that there has recently been an interesting decision at the Central Country Court in London. This was in a case brought against Thomson Cruises by a number of passengers who had their cruise spoiled by an outbreak of norovirus. This all occurred in 2009, by the way, so it’s taken a long time to get to court – doubtless there has been much discussion and negotiation on the way.
I gather that the decision effectively says that in the case of a norovirus outbreak, the cruise line is not responsible for the disruption to passengers’ holidays and the distress and discomfort experienced by them, as long as the right things were done as soon as the line became aware of the outbreak. The reports I’ve read suggest that the judge accepted the arguments put forward by lawyers for TUI Group (the current owners of Thomson Cruises) that the cause of the passengers’ illness was norovirus, not food poisoning; that it was introduced from outside the ship in a way that was beyond the line’s control; and that once the officers and crew because aware of the outbreak they put the correct measures in place. This may turn out to be significant decision.
I’m looking for links about this case and the decision, and as soon as I have them I’ll update this post.
Update: A few further things:
- First, in his comment below, SolentRichard has given me this link to an account of the decision – thanks, Richard.
- I’ve also tried to get something from the Country Court, but the person I spoke to there wasn’t aware of a website where the court’s decisions were recorded, nor have I been able to find one. Maybe that sort of information is reserved for the legal profession. Do I smell a Restrictive Practice….?
- There’s nothing as yet on the Thomson Cruises press page. I’ve emailed them and I await a reply;
- The article that SolentRichard linked-to uncovers some additional wrinkles that I hadn’t thought of – the difference between the ship’s owner/operator, Celestyal Cruises (an arm of Louis Cruises, based in Cyprus, I think) and the company that chartered the ship – that would be Thomson Cruises. I suppose that the passengers’ contracts were with Thomson Cruises so that was who they were suing, but the actual on-board services were being delivered to Thomson by Celestyal. It all sounds complicated especially for those going to law over an issue;
- And finally, I can’t help wondering what the cost of this case will be to the plaintiffs, given that they have lost.