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The Reversal of Vnuk
In Vnuk a farmworker was knocked from a ladder whilst working in a hayloft by a reversing tractor in a private farmyard. The European Court held that the EU directive required compulsory insurance to be in place in respect of any use of the motor vehicle which was consistent with the normal function of the vehicle.
This was much wider than the requirement in UK law under sections 143 and 145 of the Road Traffic act 1988.
In February 2021 the Transport Secretary spoke of his “plans to scrap EU law, ensuring British drivers avoid £50 year insurance hike”. Although the Government hasn’t brought forward its own legislation, Peter Bone MP is attempting to bring forward a Private Members Bill (PMB), the Motor Vehicles (Compulsory Insurance) Bill, which proceeds to its second reading on 22nd October.
Although the Bill faces a difficult path if it is to become legislation (only 3.8% of PMBs became law in the period 2017-2019), Keoghs will track the progress of the Bill and the Government’s reaction to it.
Essentially, the effect of the Bill would be that any retained EU law from the Motor Insurance Directive relating to compulsory insurance is to be read as not including liability in respect of the use in Great Britain (the change will not apply to Northern Ireland) of vehicles:
- Other than motor vehicles; and
- Otherwise than on a road or other public place.
Cases such as that of Mr Vnuk will no longer be covered because the accident did not occur on a road or public place.
The legislation will go some way towards satisfying the concerns expressed by the public and insurers as to the need for compulsory insurance for all kinds vehicles that are not motor vehicles as well as cover for use on private land.