Jarvis v Swans Tours Ltd: CA 16 Oct 1972

The plaintiff had booked a holiday through the defendant travel tour company. He claimed damages after the holiday failed to live up to expectations.
Held: In appropriate cases where one party contracts to provide entertainment and enjoyment, including a contract for a holiday, damages can be recovered for mental distress and vexation. The damages awarded by the county court judge were inadequate. The descriptions in the brochure were representations or warranties, but after the 1967 Act, it was no longer necessary to decide which since damages were available for either. The measure of damages was the loss of entertainment and enjoyment which was promised, and not delivered.
Lord Denning said: ‘In a proper case damages for mental distress can be recovered in contract, just as damages for shock can be recovered in tort. One such case is a contract for a holiday or any other contract to provide entertainment and enjoyment. If the contracting party breaks his contract, damages can be given for the disappointment, the distress, the upset and frustration caused by the breach. I know that it is difficult to assess in terms of money, but it is no more difficult than the assessment which the courts have to make every day in personal injury cases for loss of amenity. Take the present case. Mr Jarvis has only a fortnight’s holiday in the year. He books it far ahead and looks forward to it all that time. He ought to be compensated for the loss of it . . Here Mr Jarvis’s fortnight’s winter holiday has been a grave disappointment. It is true that he was conveyed to Switzerland and had meals and bed in the hotel. But that is not what he went for. He went to enjoy himself with all the facilities which the defendant said he would have. He is entitled to damages for the lack of those facilities and for his loss of enjoyment.’
Edmund Davies LJ said: ‘The court is entitled, and indeed bound, to contrast the overall quality of the holiday so enticingly promised with that which the defendant in fact provided . . When a man has paid for and properly expects an invigorating and amusing holiday and, through no fault of his, returns home dejected because his expectations have been largely unfulfilled in my judgment it would be quite wrong to say his disappointment must find no reflection in the damages to be awarded.’

Lord Denning MR, Edmund Davies and Stephenson LJJ
[1973] 1 All ER 71, [1972] 3 WLR 954, [1973] QB 233, [1972] EWCA Civ 8
lip, Bailii
Misrepresentation Act 1967
England and Wales
Not FollowedHobbs v London and South Western Railway Co 1875
The court considered an application for damages for inconvenience in a breach of contract case: ‘for the mere inconvenience, such as annoyance and loss of temper, or vexation, or for being disappointed in a particular thing which you have set your . .
CitedBailey v Bullock 1950
The court awarded damages against solicitors for the inconvenience to the plaintiff of having to live in an overcrowded house. . .
CitedStedman v Swan’s Tours CA 1951
The plaintiffs sought damages for their disappointing holiday in Jersey. Instead of enjoying the superior rooms with a sea view in a first class hotel expected, the holiday party found that the rooms reserved for them were very inferior and had no . .
CitedBruen v Bruce (Practice Note) CA 1959
. .
CitedFeldman v Allways Travel Service 1957
The claimant sought damages after a disappointing holiday.
Held: Such damages were capable of being awarded. . .
Not FollowedHamlin v Great Northern Railway Co 19-Nov-1856
A plaintiff can recover whatever damages naturally resulted from the breach of contract, but damages cannot be given ‘for the disappointment of mind occasioned by the breach of contract.’ . .
CitedGriffiths v Evans CA 1953
The parties disputed the terms on which the solicitor had been engaged, and in particular as to the scope of the duty undertaken by and entrusted to the solicitor as regards advising the client.
Held: Where there is a dispute between a . .

Cited by:
AppliedHeywood v Wellers CA 1976
The claimant instructed solicitors in injunction proceedings which they conducted negligently. The solicitors had put the case in the hands of an incompetent junior clerk. She sued acting in person, and succeeded but now appealed the only limited . .
CitedWiseman v Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd QBD 29-Jun-2006
The claimant said that he was refused permission to board a flight by the defendants representative without paying a bribe, and was publicly humiliated for not doing so.
Held: Whilst the claimant could recover for his own additional expenses, . .
CitedYearworth and others v North Bristol NHS Trust CA 4-Feb-2009
The defendant hospital had custody of sperm samples given by the claimants in the course of fertility treatment. The samples were effectively destroyed when the fridge malfunctioned. Each claimant was undergoing chemotherapy which would prevent them . .
CitedMilner and Another v Carnival Plc (T/A Cunard) CA 20-Apr-2010
Damages for Disastrous Cruise
The claimants had gone on a cruise organised by the defendants. It was described by them as ‘the trip of a lifetime.’ It did not meet their expectations. There had been several complaints, including that the cabin was noisy as the floor flexed with . .
CitedRuxley Electronics and Construction Ltd v Forsyth HL 29-Jun-1995
Damages on Construction not as Agreed
The appellant had contracted to build a swimming pool for the respondent, but, after agreeing to alter the specification to construct it to a certain depth, in fact built it to the original lesser depth, Damages had been awarded to the house owner . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Consumer, Contract, Damages

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.174316