Compulsory motor insurance: UK government to reverse Vnuk and related EU case law

Yesterday the Secretary of State for Transport confirmed that motor insurance law in the UK will diverge from the European model, specifically in relation to no longer following the Vnuk decision.

Once national legislation is amended, compulsory motor insurance will not extend to either (a) various non-standard motor vehicles or (b) to use of cars on private land. This approach will also remove motor sports from the scope of compulsory cover. Given that the protection offered by the MIB in instances of uninsured and untraced incidents is congruent with the legislation, it follows that the change should see (a) and (b) as no longer being liabilities to which the MIB would be required to respond.

In the six years since the decision in Vnuk we carried out a lot of work on the problems and anomalies it produced in practice. The news from the DfT is very clear and will bring those problems to an end once the changes announced take effect. In the window between Vnuk and this change being implemented there will still however be cases to be met as compulsory motor insurance claims in circumstances (a) and (b) above.


Alistair Kinley, Director of Policy & Government Affairs alistair.kinley@blmlaw.com

E-scooter road trials authorised

As widely anticipated, the government has set out the changes which will allow for e-scooter trials. They are to be classified as motor vehicles and certain regulations will be relaxed for the trials, but not the need for compulsory motor insurance. The permission for road use will be for authorised hire schemes only and it appears that the insurance arrangements will, in effect, be at fleet level rather than by way of individual policies. Privately bought and owned e-scooters will remain illegal for road use for the time being.

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Spontaneous combustion – fire damage and motor insurance in Europe

Linea Directa v Segurcaixa is a straightforward subrogation claim between two insurers, but its facts make it unusual: the claim was made against a motor insurer for reimbursement of fire damage resulting from a parked car catching fire over 24 hours after it had last been driven.

Previous blogs about the European Court’s wide interpretation of the scope of compulsory insurance required by the Motor Insurance Directive (2009/103) have highlighted the court’s expansionist approach which runs through the case law since its key decision in Vnuk v Zararovalnica in 2014. This latest development is no exception to that.

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