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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Harrison’s antiphrasis

This title may sound like a very unwelcome medical condition. What I am actually describing is what yesterday appeared to me to be the ability of the new Roads Minister – Trudy Harrison MP, or perhaps those who prepared her speaking brief – to say one thing but mean more or less the opposite during her speech at the end of the short Parliamentary debate on the impact of the Vnuk and Lewis cases on motor insurance.

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