17th Feb 2012 | Articles

Surprise package – When is a travel agent not an agent, asks Katherine Deal in her article for the New Law Journal.


The Package Travel, Package Holiday and Package Tours Regulations 1992 (SI 1992/3288) (the Regulations) came into force on 23 December 1992, revolutionising how injured holiday makers could claim compensation for death, injury or illness. Few personal injury practitioners will not have come across them at some point.

Thanks to the Regulations, the provisions of which are now expressly or impliedly incorporated into every package holiday contract, where an English holiday maker has been injured while on a package, he can sue the other party to his holiday contract directly in the English courts under English law, for injuries arising from the negligent provision of services or accommodation which were part of the package. In effect, caught by a modified form of vicarious liability, the tour operator cannot escape liability merely on the basis that those services were provided by a foreign supplier.

In Titshall v Qwerty Travel [2011] EWCA Civ 1569, [2011] All ER (D) 107 (Dec), the Court of Appeal recently analysed again how to determine whether the holiday in the course of which injury was sustained was a package, within the meaning of the Regulations. The judgment may have far-reaching ramifications for travel agents, who traditionally sell holidays on behalf of principals, but do not generally accept responsibility themselves for the proper performance of the services sold.

What is a package?

Under reg 2(1) of the Regulations, a “package” means the pre-arranged combination of at least two components of transport, accommodation or other tourist services accounting for a significant proportion of the package, when sold or offered for sale at an When is a travel agent not an agent, asks Katherine DealIN BrIEfzzAn analysis of Titshall v Qwerty Travel, including the implications for travel agents, who sell holidays on behalf of principals, but do not generally accept responsibility themselves for the proper performance of the services sold.inclusive price, when the service covers a period of more than 24 hours or includes overnight accommodation….

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