Question from Max, Can the Patron Claim More Than £20 for Her Stolen Coat at a London Nightclub?
Answer from AI:
In the UK, the law of contract generally governs the relationship between a nightclub and its patrons, including the use of cloakroom services. The small print on the ticket typically forms part of the contract between the patron and the nightclub. However, the situation described here is more complex because the patron did not receive a ticket this time.
Exclusion Clauses and Unfair Contract Terms
The small print on the ticket is known as an exclusion clause. This is a term in a contract that seeks to limit or exclude the liability of the party that includes it. In the UK, the fairness and validity of exclusion clauses are governed by the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 (UCTA).
Under UCTA, a business cannot exclude or restrict its liability for negligence causing death or personal injury. For other loss or damage, an exclusion clause must be reasonable. Whether a clause is reasonable depends on the circumstances which were, or ought reasonably to have been, known to or in the contemplation of the parties when the contract was made.
Application to the Patron’s Situation
In this case, the patron could argue that the exclusion clause is not valid because she did not receive a ticket and therefore did not agree to the terms. However, if it can be shown that she was aware of the terms from her regular use of the cloakroom, the nightclub might argue that the clause still applies.
Even if the clause applies, the patron could argue that it is not reasonable under UCTA. The limit of £20 might be seen as too low given the potential value of items that patrons might leave in the cloakroom. However, the nightclub might argue that the limit is reasonable because patrons are warned of it and can choose not to use the cloakroom.
Seeking Legal Advice
This is a complex area of law and the outcome could depend on specific facts not mentioned here, such as the patron’s previous use of the cloakroom and whether the nightclub took reasonable care of the coats. Therefore, the patron should consult a legal professional for personalized advice.
For more information on contract law and exclusion clauses, the patron could refer to resources such as the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 and the Citizens Advice guide on problems with goods and services.