A holiday has been booked and paid for, but due to medical reasons, must now be cancelled. The company booked with offers a cancellation fee so that if a booking with them is cancelled, then a full refund will be issued less the initial deposit.

However, the business has demanded that a doctor's note be provided to prove there are medical grounds for the cancellation before they will issue the refund.

Is it legal in the UK for a private business to request a doctor's note? All research I have tried to conduct on the subject deals with employers and employees, which is not relevant to this situation.

  • 2
    Why do you think it would be illegal in the first place?
    – user4657
    Aug 18, 2017 at 20:59
  • Medical information is usually private and highly sensitive, perhaps I am mistaken that a doctors note does not fall under that.
    – Roy
    Aug 18, 2017 at 21:41
  • 4
    A doctor's note or doctor's certificate says that the person is unable to complete some thing for a medically valid reason, signed, Doctor Doctor. There's no medical detail at all involved.
    – user4657
    Aug 18, 2017 at 21:52
  • 2
    Does the contract say anything about the terms of the cancellation depending on the reason for the cancellation?
    – phoog
    Aug 21, 2017 at 13:42

1 Answer 1


Yes, this could be required.

This is (1) because while disclosure of private medical information is generally prohibited, you would be voluntarily waiving that privacy to receive a benefit, and (2) because the disclosure by the doctor wouldn't have to say anything more than that there was a medically valid reason for the cancellation without going into detail about its nature. You already told the company you were medically indisposed, so that bare fact wasn't confidential anyway.

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