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Griffiths v TUI (UK) Limited - a look closer into ‘uncontroverted’ evidence.



On the 7th of October 2021 the Court of Appeal handed down judgment in the case of Griffiths v TUI (UK) Limited [2021] EWCA Civ 1442 (CA).


Background

Mr Griffiths booked an all-inclusive package holiday to Turkey for himself and his family through the travel provider TUI.


During his holiday he became unwell and was taken to hospital where he was subsequently diagnosed with acute gastroenteritis. Mr Griffiths alleged that he contracted his illness as a result of consuming contaminated food and/or fluid at his hotel.


As a result of this, Mr Griffiths brought a claim for breach of contract against TUI worth £29,000 to which TUI denied liability.


In support of Mr Griffiths claim, a report was commissioned from Professor Pennington, a microbiologist, relating to causation. Interestingly, TUI did not obtained any medical evidence in support of its Defence nor did they cross examine Professor Pennington at trial.


The report produced by Professor Pennington was described in the first instance by the Judge as “minimalist” and did not, on the balance of probabilities, sufficiently prove that Mr Griffith’s illness was linked to the hotel food and/or fluid. Therefore, the claim was dismissed.


This claim was appealed to the High Court where it was found that the report produced by Professor Pennington was ‘uncontroverted’. This is because TUI did not challenge the Claimant’s report. As the report was ‘uncontroverted’ and complied with the relevant rules, the High Court held that the Judge was not entitled to reject its findings.


Subsequently, this claim made its way up to the Court of Appeal, where it was concluded that irrespective of whether a report is ‘uncontroverted’ and compliant with CPR 35, there is no rule restricting the court from evaluating an expert report and ultimately rejecting it.


What does this mean?

This case highlights that it is permissible for Judges to consider the quality of any expert evidence presented in order to ascertain whether the burden of proof is satisfied, even when expert evidence is deemed ‘uncontroverted’.


At Garden House Solicitors, we pride ourselves on making sure that you get the best expert possible for your claim.


If you have suffered a personal injury arising from a package holiday, please get in touch with us on 01992 422 128.