Travel Republic pleads not guilty to ATOL breach

Travel Republic and its director Kane Pirie have pleaded not guilty to a breach of the ATOL Regulations in a case brought by the Civil Aviation Authority.

A summary hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court today, July 1, resulted in the case being referred for trial before a District Judge at Stratford Magistrates Court on October 12. The trial is likely to last three weeks.

Travel Republic was summonsed on 20 counts, and Pirie on another 20, relating to breaches of the Civil Aviation ATOL Regulations 1995.

Counsel for the CAA described the issue as “whether the defendants put together package holidays” and “whether there was a single contract between the consumer and company for all services”.

The CAA case will include statements from 30 consumer witnesses who say they were seeking a package holiday from the online retailer.

Counsel for Travel Republic will challenge the witness statements collected by the CAA and suggest the consumers did not enter into package holiday contracts.

“The prosecution will say there was a single contract. We will say there was a series of different contracts,” said Nicholas Purnell QC, for the defence.

The trial is seen as a test case for the CAA in enforcing its view that almost all holiday sales of flights, plus accommodation, require ATOL cover.

The length of the trial means it may be subject to an adjournment in the middle.

More information:

*Travel Republic v CAA court case adjourned until May (Travel Weekly, April 8, 2009)

* ATOL renewal ‘bloodbath’ averted (Travel Weekly, April 1, 2009)

* TUI Travel welcomes CAA decision to pursue ATOL breach agents (Travel Weekly, December 12, 2008)

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