Hi there, thanks for your question.
My name isXXXXX can assist you with this.
Technically, this might be what is known as a "penalty clause". This is a clause which is unenforceable as a matter of law, UNLESS it represents a genuine pre-estimate of the loss that the establishment was likely to sustain if she cancelled.
Given that they have given 6 months notice do you not feel that is adequate and what further action could they take in response to the demand?
Well, if the venue can find somebody else to hire the room etc. for the same day, technically, they're likely to suffer no financial loss. As such, they're unlikely to be able to claim the money from her. However, this depends on the wording of the contract clause, because the principle I'm talking about applies only where cancelling is a breach of the agreement. If the agreement permits (and that is essential) the cancellation, and states a sum to pay if that happens, this principle does not apply and the amount set out in the contract would have to be paid.
The distinction isn't always clear.
You can get a lot of information on this type of clause here: http://www.inhouselawyer.co.uk/index.php/contract/10375-playing-fair-with-penalty-clauses
What happens if they are unable to pay this amount? Would the hotel take them to court?
I expect the hotel would, yes, but that's their decision. However, just because they're sued, doesn't mean that they would win, of course. In the small claims system, where this would be, people often issue hopeless claims because there are no real adverse costs risks if they lose.
I don't know whether I should ask this but would you be able to give some advice on the best course of action?
Well, I would suggest you highlight the issues I've mentioned, and see what their reply is. It's ultimately up to them to sue, and the ball is in their court. So, you have to wait and see what they do if you dont pay it.
However, if you get a decent letter written by a lawyer pointing out the above, it might stand a decent chance of just getting rid of the issue there and then.
Thank you very much for the advice which I will pass on to my daughter and they can take it from there.
You're welcome! Good luck!
Is there anything more I can answer tonight?
No thank you I will sign off now.