Admitting primary liability, subject to causation



On 23 February 2018, in Worrall v Thomas Cook, DJ Hassall determined the meaning of an admission in a holiday illness case. The Claimant sent a Letter of Claim alleging (among other matters) that the food served to the Claimant under the holiday package was unsafe to consume and not of satisfactory quality. The Defendant replied, making an admission in the following terms:-

“Please note primary liability is admitted subject to proof of actual illness plus any of causation and quantum which may arise”.

The Particulars of Claim pleaded the admission. In the Defence, the Defendant pleaded that the Claimant still had to prove both that she was served, and that she ate, contaminated food.

The Claimant argued that the admission, properly construed, was an admission that the Defendant’s supplier exposed the Claimant to a pathogen.

The Defendant argued the admission meant only that it admitted food hygiene was not of a proper standard at the time of the Claimant’s holiday, and that, prior to the Claimant falling ill, contaminated food was served (although not necessarily to the Claimant).

The judge preferred the Claimant’s submissions. The Claimant’s claim was in contract; and serving contaminated food to the Claimant was a breach of contract, entitling the Claimant to nominal damages, whether or not the Claimant becomes ill. Given this, the rider stating that the admission was subject to causation had to mean that the admission was subject to medical causation being made out.

Andrew Spencer was counsel for the Claimant.

Latest News & Events

The Dekagram: 13th May 2024

Last week brought the news that the Australian airline Qantas and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission have agreed to resolve their dispute over cancelled flights by asking the court to impose a $100 million fine, together with an undertaking by the airline to pay…

Max Melsa appears in Court of Appeal in Re D (Children: Interim Care Order: Hair Strand Testing) [2024] EWCA Civ 498

Max Melsa represented the children, through their Children’s Guardian, in the first case to reach the Court of Appeal specifically dealing with the interpretation of Hair-Strand Tests in care proceedings. The appeal was made by the mother against the interim separation of three children from…

Dekinar: Understanding the New Fixed Costs Regime for Cross-Border Claims

In this webinar, Thomas Yarrow and Anirudh Mandagere will take a look at the new fixed costs regime with a specific eye on its impacts on litigation with a cross-border element. Thomas and Anirudh will also answer any questions you may have on the issues…

Subscribe to our mailing list

Deka Chambers: 5 Norwich Street, London EC4A 1DR

© Deka Chambers 2024


Portfolio Builder

Select the expertise that you would like to download or add to the portfolio

Download    Add to portfolio   
Title Type CV Email

Remove All


Click here to share this shortlist.
(It will expire after 30 days.)