Blocked By Ice
Our goal : 100% reimbursement of the price paid IN ADDITION TO compensation for thwarted dreams
The good news is that our solicitors have now made an initial assessment of the case, and consider that it does warrant seeking what is known as “Counsel’s Opinion”, which entails instructing a specialist Barrister to provide written legal advice on the merits of pursuing legal action. This has required formal permission from our insurers who have agreed to fund it. This is an important step forward, as neither the solicitors nor the insurance company would involve themselves in this sort of expense unless they felt that there was a real prospect of success.
Counsel’s Opinion will require a detailed examination of all the facts, which we have already provided, careful evaluation of any legislation and the application of accepted legal principles such as breach of contract, misrepresentation, negligence, and consumer law and protections, giving due consideration to legal cases of a similar nature. The available evidence, of which thankfully there is an abundance, will play an important role. Many passengers have already sent us reports of their own experience, both on the Westbound and the Eastbound cruises, and there has been a lot of useful research undertaken by members on the ice conditions and reports.
We already have an excellent “library” of correspondence between members and Hurtigruten, principally concerning formal complaints, and it is important to continue to copy us into any further communications. You are encouraged to send us any more diaries and accounts of personal experiences, which are always welcome of course; it is not too late to consider them. Just email them as usual to :
One of the problems we face is that the law is not necessarily international, and the position in the UK may not be the same in North America, Australia or Europe. But there is still some commonality: in English speaking countries, the legal foundation would have been British Common Law originally, while in the European Union, there is an EU Directive which has been universally incorporated into the law of all Member States, known as Council Directive 90/314/EEC of 13 June 1990 on package travel, package holidays and package tours.
Every EU country is subject to the same law as a minimum basis. In the UK, for instance, it translates into the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992. In essence, the major provisions are :
The particulars contained in the brochure are binding on the organizer or retailer. [One of the items specified in the schedule attached is the Itinerary ! ]
5. If the organizer finds that before the departure he is constrained to alter significantly any of the essential terms ….. he shall notify the consumer as quickly as possible in order to enable him to take appropriate decisions and in particular:
— to withdraw from the contract without penalty
6. If the consumer withdraws from the contract pursuant to paragraph 5, or if, for whatever cause, other than the fault of the consumer, the organizer cancels the package before the agreed date of departure, the consumer shall be entitled:
(b) to be repaid as soon as possible all sums paid by him under the contract.
In such a case, he shall be entitled, if appropriate, to be compensated by either the organizer or the retailer, whichever the relevant Member State's law requires, for non-performance of the contract
7. Where, after departure, a significant proportion of the services contracted for is not provided …. the organizer shall compensate the consumer for the difference between the services offered and those supplied.
If ….such arrangements are not accepted by the consumer for good reasons, the organizer shall, where appropriate, provide the consumer, at no extra cost, with equivalent transport back to the place of departure, …. and shall, where appropriate, compensate the consumer.
That is just a summary of the main provisions and there is a lot more which serves our cause well.
Many of us already have legal costs insurance but we know that many do not. We have made a proposal therefore to our legal team that they should consider extending to any legal action to all members of Blocked By Ice on a “No Win, No Fee” basis. This would of course be of great benefit. In any case, the outcome of any legal action would provide a precedent for further claims, and additional legal action may not be required.
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