Delaney v Secretary of State for Transport

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On 9 March the Court of Appeal (CA) unanimously upheld Mr Justice Jay’s decision, in June 2014, that the UK had failed to properly implement the EU Motor Insurance Directives, because an exclusion from compensation had been made where a vehicle was being used in furtherance of a crime. Consequently, Delaney (who was seriously injured in the accident in question in 2006) should recover what are known in EU law as Francovich damages from the UK Government.

This outcome applies despite his being involved, jointly along with the negligent driver who caused his injuries, in transporting large amounts of cannabis at the time of the accident.

The CA’s decision today creates a further headache for the Department for Transport (DfT), in addition to having to ensure that UK motor insurance legislation is rendered compatible with the EU Directives in the light of the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) decision last September, in Vnuk v Zavarovalnica, about the breadth of the EU compulsory insurance obligation.

An interesting footnote to the case is that Delaney himself had sought the permission of the Supreme Court after his civil claim had been dismissed in 2011 by the Court of Appeal (of which Richards LJ was part). Refusing permission in 2012, the Supreme Court gave its reasons as being that his application did “not raise an arguable point of law of general public importance which ought to be considered by the Supreme Court in the light of the judge’s findings of fact with which this Court cannot interfere and the plain wording of clause 6(1)(e) of the Agreement.”

We have provided a full write up of the case on our website here.

About the Author

akAlistair Kinley is BLM’s Director of Policy & Government Affairs.

Alistair is responsible for BLM’s engagement with government departments and regulators on policy and public affairs issues and consultations affecting the firm and its customers. He coordinated BLM’s market-facing activities in connection with the Insurance Act 2015 and the consultations which preceded its publication and introduction in Parliament.

He is a member of the Civil Justice Council (CJC), a regular speaker and experienced commentator on legal and procedural reforms and was a contributing editor to the Law Society’s Litigation Funding Handbook (September 2014).

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