Success for Max Archer in Equality Act Cruise Ship Claim.

Max Archer represented ST&H (Saga Holidays) in a successful application for summary judgment involving a novel point in relation to the application of the Equality Act 2010 to cruise holidays.

 

The Claimant was disabled within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010. The Claimant booked a cruise holiday with the Defendant called ‘Amsterdam & the Golden Age of Art’. The holiday included accommodation as well as transportation.

After booking the cruise the Claimant learned that the Defendant would not be able to accommodate a number of requirements arising out of her disability. The Claimant subsequently cancelled the contract.

A claim was presented under s.29 of the Equality Act 2010 for discrimination in the provision of services.

The Defendant brought an application for summary judgment. It was argued that the Equality Act 2010 did not apply to the claim due to the express exception in s.30 of the Act which reads as follows:

 

  1. This Part (subject to subsection (2)) applies only in such circumstances as are prescribed in relation to—
  1. transporting people by ship or hovercraft;
  2. a service provided on a ship or hovercraft. 
  1. Section 29(6) applies in relation to the matters referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) of subsection (1); but in so far as it relates to disability discrimination, section 29(6) applies to those matters only in such circumstances as are prescribed. 
  1. It does not matter whether the ship or hovercraft is within or outside the United Kingdom.

 

The Defendant’s case was that the effect of s.30 was to create an exception to s.29 in relation to services involving ships save for in ‘such circumstances as are prescribed’. As the Secretary of State for Transport had not enacted any subordinate legislation to apply to the provision of services involving ships, s.30 excluded the application of the Act to the claim.

Against this, the Claimant argued that the provisions of the Act which relate to exceptions to the application of equality law should be interpreted narrowly. It was argued that the acts of discrimination in this case related to the provision of information about a holiday, this was a distinct act to be distinguished from the provision of services arising out of transporting persons on a ship. As such, the acts of discrimination arose out of a service provided was outside of the express provisions s.30.

The court found for the Defendant on every point. It was held that s.30 laid down an express exception for services associated with transportation on a ship. Thus far, no express subordinate legislation has been made to bring these services within the ambit of the Act. It was found that to hold that the provision of information was generic and distinguished from the service (transportation by ship) would be to derogate from the express wording of s.30. Were this the case, the purpose of s.30 which seemed to be specifically worded to include the service more broadly, would have been undermined.

The judge therefore found that the case was not one to which the EqA applied and entered summary judgment.