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March 14, 2017

Tunisia Inquest and Neglect

In the recent inquest into the tragic deaths of 38 holidaymakers on a Tunisian beach, the Coroner HHJ Lorraine-Smith was invited to consider whether or not a finding of neglect should be left to the jury. The submission that it should was made by counsel for the families who sought to argue that there had been “gross neglect” on the part of the tour operator TUI. In a robust judgment the coroner rejected this argument:

To return once more to Jamieson, I would have to find that there was a gross failure or failures and that there was a clear and direct causal connection between any possible deficiency or failings in the security arrangements at the hotel and the deaths of the tourists. While I accept that there were deficiencies, some of them appreciable, I have not found a clear and direct causal link between them and the deaths caused by the gunman.”

Whilst it is impossible not to be sympathetic to the families, it was surely a step too far to suggest that the tour operator could have been guilty of neglect as defined in coronial law. It will, however, be interesting to see how the concept of neglect will be approached by the civil courts in the ongoing proceedings against the travel company.


Stephen Mooney