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Paris Attacks: cancelations, refunds, force majeure… what to do?

Taking stock of the situation with Emmanuelle Llop, Lawyer at the Court (Equinoxe Avocats)


Rédigé par Céline Eymery translated by Joséphine Foucher le Mardi 24 Novembre 2015

Following the Paris attacks, school trips were canceled on French territory, some attractions and cultural sites or venues were closed. How should professionals manage postponements and cancelations? Taking stock of the situation with Emmanuelle Llop, Lawyer at the Court (Cabinet Equinoxe Avocats).



© justasc - Fotolia.com
© justasc - Fotolia.com
TourMaG.com - Is the cancelation of school trips a type of force majeure?

Emmanuelle Llop: “The cancellation of school trips is a decision forced onto operators, following the establishment of the State of Emergency by the French State for security reasons.

It is an administrative decision that leaves no choice, and that is akin to a force majeure, also known in law jargon as “le fait du Prince” [government measures - translator’s note.]

This implies taking both parties - the client and agency or tour operator - back to the initial state in which they were before signing on an agreement. The force majeure leads to the consequence of terminating contracts.

In this way, operators must opt for postponements, and if not, cancellations. The difficulty is that the agency is not alone in the chain, so it means succeeding in having service providers willing to play along.”

Emmanuelle Llop - DR
Emmanuelle Llop - DR
TourMaG.com - How must we act in the event of the closing of attractions and cultural sites?

E.L.: “Let’s take concrete examples. The closings of Disneyland Paris or Lido at the Champs Elysées in the days following the attacks, are akin to the force majeure, which leads to termination as I have just explained.

However, if cultural sites, venues, monuments… have reopened and getting to and from those places is not restricted, then we are no longer within the realm of a force majeure.

In this way, we are back to the traditional case of cancellations, linked to the general terms and condition of sale. Then there is the selling component that can lead to a bit of flexibility and the establishment of commercial measures.”

TourMaG.com - Some clients could be brought to cancel trips they reserved from abroad out of fear… How should we handle that?

E.L.: Common law and the general terms and condition of sale apply from the moment that the destination is not advised against visiting by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

TourMaG.com - What happens to clients who reserved “dry-seat” plane tickets for an event that was canceled? For example, the Fête de Lumières in Lyon?

E.L.: In the event of a “dry-seat” plane ticket sale, the travel agency has the role of an attorney. The client will receive a refund only under the condition that the airline company was informed on the goal of his or her trip, which is relatively rare.

Without this, and with a “restrictive” ticket that is neither exchangeable nor refundable, the client will not be granted a refund.

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Tags : attacks
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