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Japp v Virgin Holidays Ltd [2013] EWCA Civ 1371 - 07/11/13


Appeal by a tour operator against a finding of liability for personal injury caused when the claimant walked through a hotel room's glass balcony doors. The issue was whether the judge erred in finding that the reference date for compliance with local standards, when determining a tour operator's duty to ensure accommodation offered is reasonably safe, was the date of the accident and not at the date of the construction of the hotel.

Appeal dismissed. Held: Where the question is whether a structural feature of a building complies with local standards, the starting point must be the standards applicable at the date of design and construction. In the absence of specific provision for further action (e.g. the regulations relating to the removal of asbestos), there is no duty to engage in a constant process of updating of existing buildings, by rebuilding or refurbishment, so as to reflect changes in standards.

Although the appellant succeeded on the issue of principle raised, it failed in its challenge to the judge's finding of fact that the doors did not comply with local standards at the date of their installation.