An appeal case involving First Choice has clarified company liability in relation to health and safety standards abroad and cut the number of successful claims.

The case of Holden v First Choice involved a woman who slipped and fell down a flight of stairs in a hotel in Tunisia.

An initial hearing found against First Choice on the grounds that the hotel should have employed someone to check the stairs were free of spilled drinks. However, the verdict was overturned by the High Court on appeal.

Barrister Alan Saggerson said the outcome determined that “just because a tour operator aspires to standards higher than those locally, it does not mean it is in breach of contract by failing to meet the standards aspired to.”

He added: “Since the decision [in May 2006] claimants have been losing claims hand over fist because they have not proved incidents breached locally applicable standards.”

Saggerson dismissed a ruling in another case that found companies offering half-board accommodation should ensure a meal consists of three courses. “According to another judge, vegetarian options should be available. It is codswallop.”