Kupeli v Cyprus Turkish Airlines: excursions from business premises

The Court of Appeal has handed down judgment in Kupeli v Cyprus Turkish Airlines [2017] EWCA Civ 1037 dismissing the Defendant airline’s appeal against a finding that regulation 5(b) of the Cancellation of Contracts made in a Consumer’s Home or Place of Work etc. Regulations 2008 did not apply to conditional fee agreements (“CFAs”) entered into at a community centre.

The Claimants (669 members of the Turkish Cypriot community in north London) were introduced to their solicitors through the local community centre; a meeting took place between some of the claimants and the solicitors at the community centre and the CFAs were entered. Following default judgment being entered against the airline and subsequently set aside, the airline was ordered to pay the Claimants’ costs.

At the detailed assessment hearing, the Master held that the Cancellation of Contracts made in a Consumer’s Home or Place of Work etc. Regulations 2008 applied and, in light of the fact that the Claimants were not given cancellation rights at the time the CFAs were made, the CFAs were unenforceable and the Defendant was not required to pay any costs. Subsequently, the Judge overturned the Master’s order on the basis that the meeting at the community centre was not an “excursion” for the purposes of regulation 5(b) and the Regulations did not apply.

The Defendant appealed to the Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the Defendant’s appeal and agreed with the Judge that the meeting at the community centre was not an “excursion” for the following reasons:

  1. in order for regulation 5(b) to apply there must be an excursion and that excursion must be organised by the trader;
  2. the community centre committee invited the solicitors to attend;
  3. the date and time of the meeting was determined by the community centre;
  4. the location and purpose of the meeting was advertised in advance and many of the Claimants were individually notified;
  5. there was no element of surprise in the meeting;
  6. in all those circumstances, it could not be said that the meeting was an “excursion organised by the trader”.

Accordingly, the CFAs were enforceable and the Defendant was liable to pay the costs.