Let's not make a meal of this: does 'all-inclusive' food & drink belong to you?

We buy food and drink in restaurants, shops and cafés in the U.K. every day; but does it belong to you if it’s included as part of your all-inclusive package holiday?

The court recently had to answer the question whether a couple, who helped themselves to food and drink at a hotel as part of their package holiday, ever owned what they ate and drank.

The reason for this question was because the couple subsequently fell ill with gastroenteritis from eating the food; however they could not show that this was because of the hotel’s negligence.

The couple had to pursue a breach of contract claim and, in order to succeed in their claim, had to show that ownership of the food was to transfer to them so they could then rely upon an implied term of the contract that the food would be of satisfactory quality.

In defence, it was argued that all the couple had was permission to help themselves - not ownership - and that once the food and drink was consumed there could be no ownership and therefore their claim should fail.

This defence was rejected. The court decided that, unless expressly agreed otherwise, when people order a meal, property in the meal transfers to them when it is served and the same is also true of a drink.

This case goes to show that seemingly the most straightforward of claims can occasionally give rise to the most unexpected legal issues! QualitySolicitors Davisons’ civil litigation team can help you with a wide variety of civil disputes. If you need advice and assistance, please do not hesitate to call on: 0121 685 1248.

You can read the court's decision in full here.

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