Scope of compulsory motor insurance (Vnuk): MPs and MEPs to scrutinise legislation this week

The Parliaments in Westminster and Strasbourg will examine separate (and slightly different) sets of proposals for restricting the scope of motor insurance to something a lot closer to that which applied before the Vnuk decision in 2014. It is completely coincidental that this activity is due to happen on consecutive days.

First, on Thursday, the European Parliament will hold a plenary vote on amendments which were agreed in principle by the European institutions earlier in the year (see this blog from June). We therefore expect them to pass. Then, on Friday, Westminster MPs are due to consider the Motor Vehicles (Compulsory Insurance) Bill. As we have noted before, despite its objectives having government support it is not a government Bill and, as such, the chances of it proceeding further look at the moment to be slim, although they are not negligible.

Positive developments in both legislatures later in the week would inject some real momentum into the reform processes and might permit us to begin to sketch out plausible timetables for implementation of entirely separate but nevertheless similar reforms in the UK and across Europe.


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

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).

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First thoughts on highway maintenance and the use of e-scooters

E-scooters have been presented as an answer to modern transport challenges and an ally in the battle to improve air-quality. However, since trials commenced on 4 July 2020 across 32 trial areas there has been a good deal of debate as to whether the benefits of e-scooter use are outweighed by their safety risks, with the title of the Transport Committee’s report last year offering a neat summary: E-scooters: pavement nuisance or transport innovation? One facet of their use and rapid adoption has had limited focus to date, that being the considerations for highway authorities in England & Wales and whether or not the demands of the technology necessitate a rethink of highways law and national guidance?

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