Summary of Recent Cases – Substantive Law

Churchill Insurance Co. Ltd. V Wilkinson; Evans v Equity Claims Ltd, [2012] EWCA Civ 116, [2012] All ER (D) 157 (Aug)

This case concerned the proper interpretation of s.151(8) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (RTA 1988) and in particular whether it complied with Council Directive (EEC) 72/166, Council Directive (EEC) 84/5, Council Directive (EEC) 90/232 and Council Directive (EC) 2009/103 (‘the European Directives’). These proceedings followed a decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union (case C-442/10) in which the CJEU determined that taken collectively the European Directives precluded national rules whose which automatically omitted the requirement that an insurer compensate a passenger who was the victim in a road traffic accident, even when the accident was caused by a driver who was not insured under the insurance policy and the passenger victim was insured under the policy and had given permission to the uninsured driver to drive the vehicle. The Court of Appeal was required to apply the CJEU’s judgment when deciding these appeals.

S.151(8) gives the insurer the right to claim a civil liability where the insured caused or permitted an uninsured driver to use the vehicle and liability eventuated. Where the insured passenger had caused or permitted the uninsured driver to use the vehicle in a way which gave rise to a liability which the insurer had to satisfy under s.151(5) of the RTA 1988, s.151(8) gave rise to a liability which flowed from the insured passenger’s contribution to the occurrence of the loss.

The Court of Appeal held that s.151(8)(b) should be interpreted as including after the words ’cause or permitted the use of the vehicle which gave rise to the liability’ the words ‘save that where the person insured by the policy may be entitled to the benefit of any judgment to which this section refers, any recovery by the insurer in respect of that judgment must be proportionate and determined on the basis of the circumstances of the case’.

A declaration of the proper interpretation of s.151(8) was made in paragraph 77 of the judgment.

September 16, 2012 · Editorial Team · Comments Closed
Posted in: News