The Motor Vehicles (Compulsory Insurance) Bill

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09 May, 2022

John Bennett

On 21 February 2021, the UK government announced that it intended to remove the effects of the decision made in the case of Damijan Vnuk v Zavarovalnica Trigalev (C-162/13), ("Vnuk") from UK law. The Vnuk case involved Mr Vnuk who was a farmworker, was knocked off a ladder in a farmyard by a trailer attached to a tractor.

The effects of Vnuk meant that Article 3(1) of the First Directive on Motor Insurance (72/166/EEC) ("the Directive") was interpreted in way that required all 'motorised vehicles' to have third-party damage and injury insurance and this included vehicles being used on private land. As a result it widened the duty for insurance which under the Road Traffic Act 1988 ("RTA 1988") only required policies issued in the UK to cover liabilities "caused by, or arising out of, the use of a vehicle on a road or other public place".

This in itself had ramifications for insurers in terms of the type of vehicles that were to be compulsory insured and the need for RTA cover in non-indemnity situations (i.e. accidents occurring on private land).

Following the case of Vnuk, and with the RTA 1988 no longer being compliant with the Directive, the RTA 1988 required amendment. In the absence of such an amendment, claimants injured by motor vehicles on private land were left without recourse to compensation as compelled by the Directive. Claimants were therefore entitled to pursue direct claims against the UK Government (for failure to implement) and, per Lewis v Tindale [2019] EWCA Civ 909¸ against the Motor Insurance Bureau (as an emanation of the State).

Following the Government's confirmation that the UK would no longer follow the decision in Vnuk, the Motor Vehicles (Compulsory Insurance) Bill ("the Bill") was introduced.

The Bill itself does not alter the current drafting of the RTA 1988 and reiterates that Section 145 of the RTA 1988 deals with liability in respect of death/injury or property damage "caused by, or arising out of, the use of a vehicle on a road or other public place". Thus removing the widened aspects introduced by Vnuk and removing the requirement for motor insurers to insure against liability for accidents taking place off-road unless it is appropriate to the particular risk or policy being addressed.

If you, a friend or relative have been involved in an accident involving a motor vehicle contact one of the team here at Forbes, where we specialise in dealing with injury claims. Our team of experienced solicitors are cyclists, horse riders, and drivers and understand the risks and problems that can occur. If you have been injured in a road accident, call one of the team for some no win, no fee, no obligation advice.

For more information contact John Bennett in our Personal Injury department via email or phone on 01254 872111. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

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