Court of Appeal extends MIB liability to cover RTCs on private land

The Court of Appeal in England recently handed down their decision in the case of Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) v Michael Lewis .  This appeal was brought by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) to seek clarification on a preliminary point namely; whether the EU Directive 2009/103/EC (relating to insurance against civil liability in respect of the use of motor vehicles and the enforcement of the obligation to insure against such liability had a direct effect against the MIB as an emanation of the state-or to put it another way, whether the MIB had to pay compensation for injuries caused by an uninsured driver for a collision that occurred on private land.

The circumstances of the incident that led this case were that Mr Lewis had been walking on private land with his friends when a local farmer mistakenly thought that they were up to no good.  The farmer then drove an uninsured vehicle along a public road and ultimately into a field where Mr Lewis and his friends were walking.  There was a collision and Mr Lewis sustained serious injuries.  The farmer was subsequently prosecuted for causing GBH with intent but was acquitted of same.

Mr Lewis brought a claim against the MIB who confirmed that the farmer had been liable for the collision however argued that they were not liable to pay compensation as under the 1999 Uninsured Drivers’ Agreement because the accident and injuries were not caused by or arising out of the use of the vehicle on a road or other public place under section 145 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

The arguments raised in Court dealt with issues of implementation or otherwise of European Directives in domestic legislation and in the lower Court it was held that it did.  The MIB were given leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal on this point.  In their judgement the Court of Appeal dismissed the MIB’s appeal and held that even though the MIB was a private law body, the government have conferred upon it by the UK government, the task under Article 10 of the 2009 Directive, which “includes remedying the failure of the government to institute in full a compulsory insurance regime, in the present case in respect of the use of vehicles on private land.”

This is a very important judgement as it ensures much greater protection to anyone who has the misfortune of being injured by the actions of an uninsured driver when the incident happens on private land.  We at McCartan Turkington Breen have a long history of being one of the market leaders in Northern Ireland for providing expert representation to people who have suffered personal injuries, not only in road traffic collisions but also injuries at work, injuries as a result of medical or clinical negligence, criminal injuries, injuries on holiday etc.  If you have suffered an injury and would like any advice in relation to your options, please contact our office now and one of our team will be ready to assist you in any way that we can whether on the telephone or in person at a free, no-obligation consultation.