European Parliament agrees to motor insurance reform while Westminster fails to do so

By way of an update to last Monday’s post, we can confirm that MEPs in Strasbourg approved proposed changes to the Motor Insurance Directive (the detail is here) whereas the different and separate legislation in Westminster failed to secure a second reading debate. For all practical purposes, that looks to have virtually no chance of making further progress as things now stand.

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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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