Travelling Abroad? Laws You Need To Know


We always recommend that when people book their holidays, they are protected. This could be through the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) or the Air Travel Organisers' Licensing (ATOL).

Holiday Cruise

But, we bet you didn't know the law goes further than that! This is a quick guide to some of the tools your solicitor will use if you have an accident or become ill on holiday.

Accidents on Planes

The first on our list is the Montreal Convention. Created in 1999 and made law in 2003, it covers accident and injury if you are travelling by plane. It increased the responsibility of your air carrier if either of the above occur.

Whether or not you fear air travel, you may think that being safely sat in your allocated seat is relatively hazard free. We see many cases where doing just that can put you in harm's way. Being scalded by hot drinks, bags falling out of the overhead lockers, whiplash due to turbulence and even falling out of the plane on disembarking. These events are all possible claims for compensation.

If you're injured on an aircraft flying between two destinations, you can bring your claim in either country, subject to them being signed up to the Montreal Convention. This means that if you were injured leaving the plane in Turkey, having flown from the UK, you can claim in the UK. The result of your claim may potentially then be more favourable.

The time limit on these types of claims is only 2 years, so if you were injured in 2012, it is important for you to contact a solicitor immediately so you don’t miss out on your chance to claim.

Cruisin' For a Bruisin'

According to a study conducted by Travel Supermarket in 2013, 7% of people will head off on a cruise, rising to 17% for those who are retired. Cruises are certainly popular with the older generation, as they can do as little or as much as they like on their holiday, a luxury they are more than entitled to. However, if an accident or injury occurs it can be even more devastating to an elderly victim. Slipping or falling on wet surfaces, spillages around the buffet and failing to maintain your balance while the ship sails through choppy water are all hazards to be aware of on a cruise.

The law governing cruise ships is the Athens Convention. It is important to know if it applies to your case as it kicks in from the moment you get on the cruise ship to the moment you leave – you become the cruise line's responsibility. This law works in your favour as it assumes that if you have been a victim of an accident on a cruise line, they are accountable and they must prove they were not at fault.

This area of law is complex, as the Athens Convention may not be the only law that applies. For this reason, we would recommend you get legal advice to confirm your position.

Get the Full Package

If you've booked your holiday and it has at least 2 pre-arranged conditions, such as travel and accommodation, and possibly other services like meals and drinks – you have most likely booked a package holiday. If something goes wrong with here, the Package Travel Regulations 1992 will protect you. With the rise of holiday internet sites and the allure of cheap deals, people are now more inclined to book their holiday components separately.

Alternatively, holidaymakers are being sold 'dynamically packaged' or 'tailor made' holidays, these may sound like package holidays, but they're not. In cases like this, you won't be protected by the Package Travel Regulations 1992. It is therefore important to be aware of how your holiday is described to ensure you get the right protection.

These regulations cover the most common situations that holidaymakers will experience. They are well known to the travel law community and documented here so you have a better idea of your rights when you go on holiday.

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