Scottish Hotel Law Case

Drake v Dow 2006 SCLR 456D stayed at a guesthouse. During the night his laptop was stolen from his room. His bedroom door did not have a lock. He claimed damages from the guesthouse owner under the praetorian edit nautae, caupones, stabularii. The Roman Law edict, which is part of Scots Law, imposes strict liability on innkeepers for guest’s property. The Sheriff Principal held that the edict did not apply as the guesthouse was not an inn or hotel under the provisions of the Hotel Proprietors Act 1956. It was merely a bed and breakfast establishment and thus the owner was not an innkeeper/hotelkeeper for the purposes of the edict. The court applied Watling v McDowall (1825) 4 S 83.

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