One of the interest BIBA Fringe sessions for motor insurers was the Weightmans Law presentation on the Vnuk case and its long term implactions. Paul Ryman-Tubbs presented a brief history of Vnuk, Brexit and the complicated rules surrounding Marleasing and `direct effect’ when it comes to countries making their own interpretations of EU rules and laws.
Confused? That’s understandable, but Paul made some interesting points and the main one for insurance brokers is that advising your clients to do nothing is not an option. The Vnuk ruling still leaves your client open for a claim, even after Brexit.
While the UK may well come up legislation (in England at least ) that defines which motor/mechanical vehicles need insurance and how their use is defined, or passes new legislation that EU laws do not apply here, that still leaves the door open for legal action on private land. An injured party could claim that if they lived in the EU they would get a better settlement and so the UK was denying them fair justice.
Some test cases were cited by Paul to illustrate this approach by claimants in the past. So brokers need to pursue the safest option, regardless of future Vnuk rulings in the EU, or a tweaking of the wording by the EU in the future, or new UK legislation. Some claims may always find favour with some courts; history teaches us that reality.
A question form the floor on e-scooters: Will we see all e-scooters, e-bikes etc required to hold insurance in future?
That depends of course on the UK and devolved Parliaments/Assemblies. Paul summarised it perfectly;
“e-scooters are already vehicles under English Law and have to have insurance, as they are using the public roads. Whether private e-scooter or mobility scooter owners need cover is a matter for future legislation, and at that point the government needs to clarify exactly which vehicles need insurance and define those vehicles by weight, speed or a detailed description in the law.”
It seems then that Vnuk will always prompt some injury claims where vehicles were being sued on private land. Brexit makes no difference.