It looks like it’s the end of the road for the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) as far as the case MIB v Lewis is concerned.
In 2018, the High Court found the MIB liable to compensate a senior citizen claimant who suffered injuries following a 2013 incident on private land involving an uninsured 4×4 Nissan Terrano; last year, the England and Wales Court of Appeal upheld the decision.
Fast forward to this month, and we see the Supreme Court deny the MIB’s application for permission to appeal further. It’s also been concluded that there’s no need to refer the case for any ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union.
David Knifton QC, who acted for the claimant alongside Philip Moser QC, said in a statement sent to Insurance Business: “I am delighted that the Supreme Court has decisively rejected the MIB’s attempts to deny compensation to Mr Lewis. The European Court has consistently endeavoured to ensure that innocent victims of motor vehicle accidents have a right to compensation, either from an insurer or from a body such as the MIB.
“Despite Brexit, the Directive rights recognised in previous CJEU decisions would have remained available in UK domestic law, but the decision of the Supreme Court lays to rest any lingering doubts there may have been.”
The European Union’s Motor Insurance Directive applies to vehicles used in traffic both on public and private roads, unlike the UK’s Road Traffic Act 1988 (RTA) which makes motor insurance mandatory only for vehicles on public terrain. The MIB, which is a victim’s recourse in cases where the driver at fault is uninsured or untraced, maintains that its remit does not go beyond the limits of the Act.
In all instances, though, it was ruled that the MIB was an emanation of the state and therefore should compensate under the European Union’s Motor Insurance Directive.
Knifton added: “It is high time the government amended the Road Traffic Act to bring it into line with EU law. In the meantime, victims of accidents caused by uninsured vehicles on private land are entitled to pursue a claim for damages against the MIB.”
Meanwhile Clyde & Co partner Mark Hemsted concurred.
In a post published on the law firm’s website, Hemsted noted: “The upholding of the High Court decision reiterates the extension of the obligations of the MIB beyond those within the RTA and within its own Articles of Association. The MIB may now seek to challenge the government into amending the Road Traffic Act.
“In the continued absence of any indication that the government intends on amending the RTA, it would be unsurprising if the MIB does not make efforts to amend its Articles to reflect the changes brought about by this decision.”