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​New curbs on bogus holiday sickness claims

New curbs on bogus holiday sickness claims

The rules will fix the legal costs that can be claimed in package holiday sickness claims, closing a loophole which the travel industry believes has helped fuel a rising number of claims. This claims epidemic, the industry fears, is raising the prospect of higher travel costs for British tourists.

The rules will come into effect in the coming weeks - ensuring the curbs will be in place before the next summer holiday season.

Up to now, legal costs in overseas package travel claims have not been controlled, which has meant costs for tour operators can spiral out of all proportion to the damages claimed. This has led many operators to settle holiday sickness claims out of court, rather than challenge them.

Industry experts believe this has been a major factor in a rise in claims which has sparked concerns that Britain’s reputation overseas is being damaged and that British tourists will face higher package holiday prices.

Justice Minister Rory Stewart said:

“Claiming compensation for being sick on holiday, when you haven’t been, is fraud. This damages the travel industry and risks driving up costs for holidaymakers. This behaviour also tarnishes the reputation of British people abroad. That is why we are introducing measures to crack down on those who engage in this dishonest practice.”

Ambassador Simon Manley said:

“The issue of fraudulent sickness claims has rightly caused concern in Spain, and has had a serious impact on Spanish hoteliers. These latest measures to control legal costs, announced by the British Government, as well as the steps taken at the end of last summer, show how seriously we take this issue, and underline our determination to clamp down on loopholes and fraudulent claims. Almost 19 million British tourists visited Spain last year and, whilst the vast majority of holiday makers will not make false claims, these steps will help to deter those that might be tempted to do so. As our travel advice says, making a false claim could result in legal proceedings in the UK or in Spain.”

According to the travel industry, there has been a substantial increase in claims, which some have estimated to be as high as 500% in recent years.

While uncontrolled costs have discouraged tour operators from challenging claims, they have also emboldened claims management companies to encourage tourists to pursue holiday sickness compensation, with touts reportedly operating in European resorts.

To help tackle this, Ministers asked the Civil Procedure Rule Committee, which is responsible for setting rules on legal costs, to look at bringing package holiday claims within the fixed recoverable costs regime. This would mean tour operators would pay prescribed costs depending on the value of the claim and length of proceedings, making defence costs predictable and assisting tour operators to challenge bogus claims.

The Committee has now agreed to this rule change - the rules will be updated on Monday, and will come into effect shortly. More detail will also be published on the Government’s approach, alongside its response to a recent call for evidence.

The Government is committed to tackling the country’s compensation culture, and recently introduced a Civil Liability Bill which includes measures to reduce the unacceptably high number of whiplash claims and allow insurers to cut premiums.

Other reforms include the forthcoming ban on cold calling and tougher regulation of claims management companies.

​​Missing Scotswoman’s family to launch fresh appeal in Spain for information with a reward of up to £100,000

Missing Scotswoman’s family to launch fresh appeal in Spain for information with a reward of up to £100,000

The family of Lisa Brown, a mother of one child from Alexandria, Scotland, will launch a fresh appeal in the province of Cadiz, today Friday 23 March, for information on her disappearance in Spain more than two years ago.

The appeal is supported by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Spanish authorities and is backed up by a reward of up to £100,000 from the family, which is supported by UK charity Crimestoppers.

Ms Brown was 31 when she vanished from her home in Guadiaro, Cadiz province, on November 4, 2015.

Craig Douglas, Ms Brown’s brother, said their family believes that there is a ‘wall of silence’ among the English-speaking community in southern Spain over his sister’s disappearance.

“We are sure that people know what happened and ask them to think of a little boy who asks every night when his Mummy is coming home. We also hope that the reward might persuade people to tell us what happened,” Craig said in a press conference in the locality of Los Barrios, in the province of Cadiz, to launch this appeal.

Roger Critchell, Crimestoppers Director of Operations, said: “The family are desperate to find out what happened to Lisa. We understand that people are not always willing to go to the police so we would urge them to contact Crimestoppers with 100% anonymity through our phone line and our online form.”

Critchell also participated in the press conference, in which the British Ambassador Simon Manley said he hoped the launch of this appeal is effective.

“Citizen collaboration is essential in these kind of cases,” the Ambassador said. “Cooperation between Spanish and British security forces is another key element, and both countries have an excellent relationship in this field.”

Those with information can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 and 900 555 111 in Spain or via the web form at https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/give-information-online/.

The reward will be paid out to any providing substantial information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible or results in identifying the whereabouts of the body. The reward will be valid for six months dating from 23 March.


You can find this and other news stories from the Canary Islands and Spain in the free, online 'News from the Canary Islands':

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​Tenerife House used by Sergei Skripal for Spying

Tenerife House used by Sergei Skripal for Spying

A house in Puerto de la Cruz in Tenerife was used as an espionage operations centre, and documents found inside this house in Camino Casa Azul have revealed that Sergei Skripal was playing a double game of a secret agent for the UK Government and for the Russian Government.

Sensitive information was leaked between both countries several years ago, but currently Sergei Skripal and this daughter are seriously ill following a nerve agent chemical attack in Salisbury shopping centre.

The police investigation into this nerve agent attack in the UK has now turned to the house in Puerto de la Cruz where Sergei Skripal had concealed these incriminating documents.

The UK Government claims that this nerve agent attack is a reprisal on the part of the Russian Government for Sergei Skripal having leaked secret information to the British Secret Service. However, Russia denies any connection with this incident and is asking for evidence for these claims.

The expelling of 23 Russian diplomats and then the expelling of 23 UK diplomats now sees a return to the Cold War period of threats and heightened tensions between these two countries. Now it seems that a house used in Tenerife may hold answers about the life of this double agent spy, and why he was attacked and who might have carried out this attack.

You can find this and other news stories from the Canary Islands and Spain in the free, online 'News from the Canary Islands':

http://newsfromthecanaryislands.com

Remember to enter your email address for your FREE weekly online copy of 'News from the Canary Islands'

Keep up to date by joining our Facebook page: @newsfromthecanaryislands

Overturned Car in Lanzarote

Overturned Car in Lanzarote

A car overturned in Playa Blanca in Lanzarote and four people were left injured late at night in the Municipality of Yaiza.

A 19-year-old boy suffered a hip injury and a moderate ankle fracture, but others had only minor injuries after this overturned car accident.

This incident occurred at 02.00 in the morning near the exit of the LZ-2 towards the tourist area of Playa Blanca, and firefighters had to free the occupants of the overturned car who were trapped.

You can find this and other news stories from the Canary Islands and Spain in the free, online 'News from the Canary Islands':

http://newsfromthecanaryislands.com

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​The European Commission has referred Spain to the EU Court of Justice Over Neglect of River Basins in the Canary Islands

The European Commission has referred Spain to the EU Court of Justice Over Neglect of Water in the Canary Islands

The European Commission has referred Spain to the European Court of Justice of the EU for not reviewing and updating the River Basin Management Plans for the seven river basin districts in the Canary Islands (El Hierro, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, La Gomera, La Palma, Lanzarote, and Tenerife).

River basin management plans are the foundation of the EU’s Water Framework Directive that are designed to outline the main issues faced by each river basin district, as well as the specific measures a country will take to ensure that they meet environmental standards.

Spain has not taken sufficient efforts to ensure that its river basins in the Canary Islands comply with environmental standards and to ensure compliance with the public information and consultation obligations for establishing plans.

You can find this and other news stories from the Canary Islands and Spain in the free, online 'News from the Canary Islands':

http://newsfromthecanaryislands.com

Remember to enter your email address for your FREE weekly online copy of 'News from the Canary Islands'

Keep up to date by joining our Facebook page: @newsfromthecanaryislands


You can find this and other news stories from the Canary Islands and Spain in the free, online 'News from the Canary Islands':

http://newsfromthecanaryislands.com

Remember to enter your email address for your FREE weekly online copy of 'News from the Canary Islands'

Keep up to date by joining our Facebook page: @newsfromthecanaryislands

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