Supreme Court

Moreno v Motor Insurers’ Bureau

[2016] UKSC 52; [2016] WLR (D) 453

2016 July 12, 13; Aug 3

Lord Mance, Lord Clarke of Stone-cum-Ebony, Lord Sumption, Lord Toulson, Lord Hodge JJSC

Road traffic — Motor Insurers’ Bureau — Uninsured driver — United Kingdom resident injured in Greece when struck by Greek registered vehicle driven by uninsured driver — Claim against Motor Insurers’ Bureau for compensation — Whether Greek or English law applicable to assessment of compensation — Motor Vehicles (Compulsory Insurance) (Information Centre and Compensation Body) Regulations 2003 (SI 2003/37), reg 13(2) — Council Directive 2009/103/EC

Facts

The claimant, a United Kingdom resident, was seriously injured whilst on holiday in Greece when she was hit by a Greek registered car driven by an uninsured driver. The claimant made a claim against the defendant in its capacity as a compensation body under regulation 13(2) of the Motor Vehicles (Compulsory Insurance) (Information Centre and Compensation Body) Regulations 2003, which transposed into law a series of Council Directives but were enacted prior to the codifying Council Directive 2009/103/EC (“the Sixth Directive”). The defendant accepted that the driver of the vehicle was liable under the law of Greece and contended that compensation should be assessed in accordance with Greek law. The claimant contended that under the Regulations compensation should be assessed in accordance with the law of England and Wales and that there was nothing in the Sixth Directive to the contrary or precluding that. On the hearing of a preliminary issue, the judge concluded that he was bound by decisions of the Court of Appeal to hold that the scope of the defendant’s liability was to be determined in accordance with the law of England and Wales. The judge granted a certificate for appeal direct to the Supreme Court, which granted the defendant permission to appeal.

On the defendant’s appeal—

Held

Held, appeal allowed. The 2003 Regulations should, so far as possible, be interpreted in a sense which was not in any way inconsistent with the Directives. There was no suggestion in the 2003 Regulations or elsewhere of any intention on the part of the domestic legislator to do anything other than faithfully implement and give effect to the Directives. The Directives created a scheme of which the constant aim had been to improve the prospects and ease with which injured parties could recover the compensation to which they were entitled in respect of any loss or damage caused by vehicles. The inference was that the victim of a motor accident was entitled to the same compensation, whether against the driver responsible, the driver’s insurer, the motor insurance bureau of the state of the accident or the compensation body established in the victim’s state of residence. The Directives did not leave it to individual member states to provide for compensation in accordance with any law which such states might choose but proceeded on the basis that a victim’s entitlement to compensation would be measured on a consistent basis, by reference to the law of the state of the accident. The 2003 Regulations gave effect to the scheme of the Directives and regulation 13(2) did not distinguish between liability and heads of damage on the one hand and measure of compensation on the other. Accordingly, the scope of the defendant’s liability to the claimant was to be determined in accordance with the law of Greece (paras 26–43).

Cases Considered

Marleasing SA v La Comercial Internacional de Alimentación SA (Case C-106/89) [1990] ECR I-4135, ECJ applied.

Jacobs v Motor Insurers’ Bureau [2011] 1 WLR 2609, CA and Bloy v Motor Insurers’ Bureau [2014] 1 Lloyd’s Rep IR 75, CA overruled.

Appellate History

Decision of Gilbart J [2015] EWHC 1002 (QB); [2015] Lloyd’s Rep IR 535 reversed.

Appearances

Hugh Mercer QC, Marie Louise Kinsler and Alistair Mackenzie (instructed by Weightmans, Liverpool) for the defendant.

Daniel Beard QC and Sarah Crowther (instructed by BL Claims, Eastleigh) for the claimant.

Reported by: Jill Sutherland, Barrister

© 2016. The Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for England and Wales.