The British Embassy in Madrid yesterday provided further information about the crackdown on fraudulent holiday compensation claims.
The new rules will fix the legal costs that can be claimed in package holiday sickness claims, closing a loophole which the travel industry believes has helped fuel a rising number of claims. The rules will come into effect in the coming weeks - ensuring the curbs will be in place before the next summer holiday season.
Up to now, legal costs in overseas package travel claims have not been controlled, which has meant costs for tour operators can spiral out of all proportion to the damages claimed. This has led many operators to settle holiday sickness claims out of court, rather than challenge them.
British Ambassador to Spain Simon Manley says: "The issue of fraudulent sickness claims has rightly caused concern in Spain and has had a serious impact on Spanish hoteliers. These latest measures to control legal costs, announced by the British government, as well as the steps taken at the end of last summer, show how seriously we take this issue and underline our determination to clamp down on loopholes and fraudulent claims. Almost 19 million British tourists visited Spain last year and, whilst the vast majority of holidaymakers will not make false claims, these steps will help to deter those who might be tempted to do so. As our travel advice says, making a false claim could result in legal proceedings in the UK or in Spain."
Ministers asked the Civil Procedure Rule Committee, which is responsible for setting rules on legal costs, to look at bringing package holiday claims within the fixed recoverable costs regime. This would mean tour operators would pay prescribed costs depending on the value of the claim and length of proceedings, making defence costs predictable and assisting tour operators to challenge bogus claims.
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