Travel industry disadvantaged by Brexit bottleneck

8th January 2018 by Professor David Grant

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It is a fundamental tenet of a democratic society that citizens should know the laws that apply to them – and if the law changes then it is advisable that the law is promulgated in advance of the change so that the appropriate steps can be taken to comply with such changes.

This approach has been adopted by the European Commission in relation to the new Package Travel Directive. Member States are required to bring the new Directive into force by 1st July 2018 but prior to that the implementing measures must be published by 1st January 2018.

This is enshrined in Art. 28:

1. Member States shall adopt and publish, by 1 January 2018, the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive. They shall forthwith communicate to the Commission the text of those measures.
2. They shall apply those measures from 1 July 2018.

So where are they? As of today there is no sign of the implementing Regulations. How are consumers to know what their rights are for package holidays taken after 1 July? And, more significantly, how are travel companies to comply with a law they have not yet seen – particularly the novel aspects of the Directive such as Linked Travel Arrangements. A quick glance at the TUI terms and conditions on their website only refers to the 1992 Regulations yet they are selling holidays way beyond July.

Apparently, according to Lord Adonis, quoted in the press recently:

“Almost the entire government machine is spending its time seeking to wrench us out of the key economic and political institutions of the EU. Everything else is going by the board.”

If this is so, then it is unforgiveable. It is not as though there has not been enough time for the Government to prepare for the new Directive, after all it was originally published by the EU back in November 2015 and there were extensive consultations before that in which the

[2018] TLQ 2

Government participated. It is not as though the Directive and the need for implementing Regulations have come as a surprise.

And like it or not we are still in the EU and have to comply with their rules – including being subject to infringement proceedings by the Commission. It remains to be seen whether the Commission will intervene at this early stage, particularly if we see the Regulations in the next few days but even so the Government is treating the travel industry and its consumers in a shabby fashion.

David Grant, Editor in Chief

About the Author

David Grant is Professor Emeritus at Northumbria University and was Visiting Professor of Travel Law at Leeds Metropolitan University.

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