Vnuk: technical legislation aimed at reversing the decision has been published

Finally, we have the text of the Bill which seeks to remove the effects of the Vnuk (etc) line of European cases from UK motor insurance law. It is not a government Bill (more on why not in my blog from last month) and will therefore be subject to the procedural vagaries and uncertainties of private member’s legislation in the Commons.

At first sight, the Bill looks to be technically sound, in seeking to remove the current interpretation of the EU Motor Insurance Directive (article 3 “use” in particular) from the laws of England & Wales and Scotland (road traffic law in Northern Ireland is devolved).

The Bill (available in full here) seeks to make the necessary changes by providing that use of vehicles in that article of the Directive is to be read as:

“not including liability in respect of the use in Great Britain of vehicles-

  • other than motor vehicles, or
    • otherwise than on a road or other public place.”

These few words would remove use of non-standard non-road vehicles and use of any vehicle on private land from the scope of UK motor insurance law.

Although it is not a government Bill, it is worth pointing out that the accompanying ten pages of Explanatory Notes have been prepared by the Department of Transport; indicating that the government is prepared to lend resource and support to this initiative but has not gone as far as allotting some dedicated parliamentary time for it to move forward.

If the Bill is enacted – and it is worth repeating it’s quite a big ‘if’ at the moment – the change above would take effect two months after Royal Assent. At the moment, it is difficult to see that happening much before Q2 2022 at the very earliest.

The next hurdle for the Bill is second reading in the Commons on 22 October. That may not be a key date for your diary, but as of today it’s now very heavily inked into mine.


Written by Alistair Kinley, Director of Policy and Government Affairs at BLM (alistair.kinley@blmlaw.com)

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