Brief update on legislation in NI to remove Vnuk liabilities from motor insurance

UPDATE 2/3/22: The two not-quite matching Motor Vehicles (Compulsory Insurance) Bills continue to progress. The House of Lords’ scrutiny of the Westminster Bill (which applies to England & Wales and Scotland) is due to start on 18 March. Yesterday, shortly before 6pm, the NI legislation passed the formality of its Further Consideration Stage and may well complete its remaining stages before its mainland counterpart is debated in the Lords in a couple of weeks.

FURTHER UPDATE 7/3/22: The Assembly’s Final Stage debate on the Bill this afternoon lasted barely ten minutes. The Bill was duly passed and it will now take effect after it receives Royal Assent. Just to recap, it ends Vnuk-related liabilities in NI and in so doing avoids annual additional cost estimated at £50 per motor insurance policy.


UPDATE ADDED 22/2/22: Update on Motor Vehicles (Compulsory Insurance) Bill (NI version): it passed Consideration stage on 22 February and Further Consideration will be on 1 March. All remaining stages could be taken during March and, if so, this will become law in May, ending Vnuk liabilities in NI.


The Bill was introduced on 7 February 2022 and published here on the same day. Its policy aims are the same as legislation in Westminster (i.e. to re-set the scope of compulsory motor insurance to that in operation before the Vnuk decision). The NI Bill was back before the Assembly this morning, where Members agreed that it should proceed via Accelerated Passage (AP), a process which requires cross-community support.

The Bill’s second stage debate was also taken and agreed this morning. It now proceeds directly to consideration stage next week – AP means that the Committee stage is bypassed – and looks increasingly likely to be completed within the limited time that remains of the Assembly’s current mandate (given the elections scheduled in early May).


Written by Alistair Kinley at BLM (Alistair.Kinley@blmlaw.com)

Department for Transport in reflective mode on new road-related technologies?

This morning’s response from the government to the Transport Select Committee’s report on smart motorways is, in essence, that DfT accepts the MPs recommendations in full and will pause the further roll out of smart motorways (i.e. all lanes running with no hard shoulders) in order to collect and better evaluate safety-related data.

Although it would be a little unfair to characterise the response (linked in this DfT press release) as a change in direction, it could be taken to represent a more subtle shift in the DfT’s approach, perhaps indicating any ultimate regulatory choices will be driven to a greater extent by rich empirical data rather than by political enthusiasm for any particular technology’s perceived benefits.

Continue reading

“Protect” – a new legislative duty on businesses to take steps to mitigate terrorism risks

This morning, the Home Office published its analysis of the responses to last year’s consultation about the introduction of a new legislative duty – the Protect duty –  to assess and take steps to mitigate the risk of terrorist attacks. The duty would apply to organisations of a certain size and to operators of venue/places to which the public has access. The duty will apply to the private and public sector alike and relevant legislation should be expected in a matter of months.

Continue reading