Written Ministerial Statement on the removal of Vnuk from UK law

In a blog just last week I commented that we have yet to see draft legislation which would remove the effects of the Vnuk decision from UK law. While that remains the case, on 29 June the Secretary of State for Transport gave a Written Statement to Parliament (which can be found here) in which he noted the recent emergence of a Private Member’s Bill (PMB) that seeks to do this and he repeated that a slot to introduce primary legislation “will be sought at the earliest possible opportunity” (perhaps something of a meaningless phrase). We’ll keep a close eye out for the publication of either the PMB and/or any government legislation.

Alistair Kinley, Director of Policy & Government Affairs

“Deal reached on new rules to better protect road accident victims”

This is the headline from yesterday’s press release from the European Parliament which provides the outline of an agreement in principle between the Parliament and the Council on the key measures to take forward in the reform of the Motor Insurance Directive. The stand-out feature is the scope of compulsory insurance – a controversial area as a result of the Vnuk case – on which there is apparent consensus on excluding motorsports and ebikes as well as the prospect of allowing for non-standard non-road vehicles to be excluded.

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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