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New laws to stop bogus holiday sickness claims

Holiday sickness fraudsters will find it more difficult to claim compensation they are not entitled to under new laws.
The rules will limit the legal costs that can be claimed for package holiday sickness cases, closing a loophole that the travel industry believes has prompted a growing number of claims.
Until now, the legal costs have not been capped and this has left some tour operators facing massive bills, sometimes out of proportion to the damages claimed.This has prompted many operators to settle out of court rather than challenge claims, and it has also inspired claims management companies to encourage tourists to seek compensation.Since October last year, four couples have been sentenced or ordered to pay significant legal costs after making false package holiday sickness claims.The Association of British Travel Agents reported a 500% increase from around 5,000 claims in 2013 to around 35,000 claims in 2016.This was despite industry data showing reported incidence of illness in resorts actually declined globally in recent years.Justice Minister Rory Stewart said: "Claiming compensation for being sick on holiday, when you haven't been, is fraud.
"This damages the travel industry and risks driving up costs for holidaymakers."This behaviour also tarnishes the reputation of British people abroad."That is why we are introducing measures to crack down on those who engage in this dishonest practice."The rules will come into effect over the next few weeks and will see package holiday claims come under the fixed recoverable costs regime.
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This would mean tour operators would pay prescribed costs depending on the value of the claim and length of proceedings.Ministers believe making defence costs predictable will assist tour operators in challenging bogus claims.
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