“fouling charges” …

Readers of various UK newspapers may have seen this recent article. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/11/13/woman-gives-birth-in-addison-lee-taxi-cleaning-bill_n_8553646.html

A woman, who had summoned a taxi to take her to the hospital, gave birth to a baby in the back of a taxi. The driver demanded that she pay a “fouling charge” of £100.

This is an interesting notion and one wonders whether it lurks somewhere in the general conditions of carriage that no one ever reads. Judging from the eventual outcome, one suspects not.

Of course, the Romans dealt with a related issue:

D. 19, 2, 19, 7 Ulp. 32 ad ed.
Si quis mulierem vehendam navi conduxisset, deinde in nave infans natus fuisset, probandum est pro infante nihil deberi, cum neque vectura eius magna sit neque his omnibus utatur, quae ad navigantium usum parantur.

Ulpian is here more concerned with more passage money is owed for the infant, since it is no real drain on the resources prepared for the expected passengers.

One wonders what Ulpian would have made of this.