High Court – Disappointment and distress damages payable to cruise passenger

Jan 23, 2023 | Publication

The High Court has delivered a significant judgment in a class action following a European cruise in 2013 and has allowed damages for disappointment and distress.

A group of Australian passengers sued tour company, Scenic Tours, claiming it had failed to deliver the luxury European river cruise experiences they had purchased.

The cruise was effected by bad weather which disrupted the cruise and passengers had to change vessels and travel by bus at times.

There was no issue in the High Court that Scenic Tours’ attempts to perform its contractual obligations amounted to breaches of consumer guarantees contained in the Australian Consumer Law.

The issue the High Court had to consider was whether the lead plaintiff, Mr Moore, was entitled to damages for disappointment and distress.

Mr Moore was awarded the sum of A$2,000 for his disappointment and distress under Section 267(4) of the Australian Consumer Law.

As a result of this decision, passengers who experience a less than enjoyable holiday as a result of a breach of the Australian Consumer Law, will likely be entitled to damages for distress and disappointment, over and above any refund.


The information in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this publication is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. We are not responsible for the information of any source to which a link is provided or reference is made and exclude all liability in connection with use of these sources. If you do not wish to receive newsletters from us, please let us know.

Latest Insights

7 Ways to Enforce a Judgment

After a judgment is obtained for an amount of money, there are numerous options open to a judgment creditor in relation to how to enforce the judgment (i.e. how to obtain the money which is owed pursuant to the judgment). Option #1: Issue a Bankruptcy Notice If the...

Who Can Bring a Compensation to Relatives Claim?

In the unfortunate event of a loved one's passing due to negligence or wrongful act, the Compensation to Relatives Act 1897 in New South Wales outlines the parameters for pursuing compensation on behalf of the deceased. Understanding who has the legal standing to...

10 Myths of Being Sued

If you or your business are sued, there are many myths about how the legal process will pan out.  Here are 10 myths about the legal process – all are incorrect. Myth #1: The matter will definitely go to a hearing Most matters settle before a Judge decides...

How can my business sue someone to recover money?

Lawyers are often asked about the process of recovering money owed as a result of, for instance, a failure to pay for goods or services or a breach of contract. Normally a business (or an individual) will issue a letter of demand as a precursor to suing someone to...

Can a Will be done electronically – not on paper?

Can a Will be valid if it is found on a computer (i.e. not signed with pen and in a hard copy form)? The Supreme Court of South Australia recently examined the validity of an electronic Will created on an iPad and signed using an iPad pen. The decision of In the...