Hotel's windows ruling victory

05 February 2006
Hotel's windows ruling victory

Hotel owners will not have to restrict how far windows open to stop guests falling out, following a Court of Appeal ruling at the end of last month.

The case was brought to the appeal courts by Christian Lewis, a guest who fell out of a window at the Broadway hotel in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, in May 2000.

Lewis, who had been drinking, alleged that the then hotel owner, Six Continents, had failed to take reasonable care under the Occupiers Liability Act of 1957.

But the judge rejected the case because it was not "reasonably foreseeable" that an adult leaning out of the window would fall out. He added that every window in the country would have to be adapted if Lewis had won his claim.

The decision may conflict with advice being provided by some local authorities.

Peter Hail, owner of the 80-bedroom Best Western Clifton hotel in Folkestone, Kent, received a letter from Shepway District Council which ordered him to restrict the gaps in his bottom sash windows to 100mm.

He hopes the ruling will take precedence over what he calls an "absurd idea".

By Tom Bill

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