Updated 29 April 2022. The Bill received Royal Assent yesterday. As that was the last sitting day of this Parliamentary session, it’s fair to say that this really went very close to the wire. Under the terms of what is now the Motor Vehicles (Compulsory Insurance) Act 2022, the targeted re-setting of the scope of compulsory motor insurance takes effect automatically in two months.
Yesterday afternoon at 15:59 Lord Robathan moved the final stages of the Vnuk-reforming Motor Vehicles (Compulsory Insurance) Bill yesterday with this phrase. At 15:40 the Bill was passed and it is scheduled to receive Royal Assent later in the week. It will take effect two months from then, meaning that by late June the effects of Vnuk v Zararovalnica and Lewis v Tindale will be removed from motor insurance law in the UK mainland.
For completeness, the EU 27 have also agreed to reform the effect of the line of cases stemming from Vnuk – itself decided back in September 2014 – with amendments to the Directive taking effect in December next year.
After some seven and a half years’ activity on this highly technical topic it is very tempting to agree that it is probably quite enough. Pragmatic law reform, pressed for and welcomed by the insurance and motor sport sectors in particular, is on its way.
Written by Alistair Kinley, Director of Policy and Government Affairs at BLM
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)
Our blogs over the last fortnight have reported on (i) the progress of the Motor Vehicles (Compulsory Insurance) Bill in the Commons and (ii) plans to introduce similar reforms in Northern Ireland.
This morning the Infrastructure Committee of the NI Assembly noted, from written briefing provided by the Department, that the proposed NI legislation “largely mirrors the Bill in Westminster.” The Committee was therefore prepared, albeit reluctantly, to agree to the NI Bill proceeding via ‘Accelerated Passage’ (AP). It will be published and start its progress though the Assembly on Monday 7 February 2022.
Today’s agreement to AP means that the necessary legislative stages can be taken much more quickly than usual and opens the real prospect of this Bill coming into force in the second quarter of the year.
Written by Alistair Kinley, Director of Policy and Government Affairs at BLM (firstname.lastname@example.org)