MIB v Lewis: A Legal Landmark

17th August 2020

Rebecca Squires, ATE Technical Supervisor, DAS UK Group looks at the landmark MIB v Lewis case. DAS UK provided Thompsons Solicitors, which acted for the claimant, with its ATE Personal Injury product to help fund the case…

Earlier this year the Supreme Court ruled against the MIB (Motor Insurers’ Bureau) in what is being considered a landmark legal action. The case in question - MIB v Lewis - is one we have been following closely.

It all started in 2013 when Mr Lewis was run down in a field by an uninsured vehicle. The injuries suffered as a result were severe and life changing and the driver (a local farmer) did not have the means to meet the claim for damages. As a result, the MIB were brought into the claim.

The MIB, however, disputed liability on the basis the event took place on private land, a fact which they claimed meant it wasn’t covered under the Uninsured Drivers Agreement 1999. Despite being unsuccessful at the High Court and in a failed appeal with the Court of Appeal, which unanimously upheld the previous decision citing EU Directives (3 & 10 of the Sixth European Union (EU) Motor Insurance Directive), the MIB continued to push on and sought permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.

They challenged the Court of Appeals decision based on:-

  • Article 3 – the requirement to impose compulsory insurance of vehicles, including on private land
    • They argued the member states have discretion on how the compulsory insurance system operates, allowing there to be a different regime for vehicles that are used on the road compared to other circumstances
  • Article 10 – the requirement of member states to have a boy set up to provide compensation to victims of uninsured vehicles
    • The claimed this had not been fully implemented in the UK as the MIB’s remit only provided compensation within the limits of the Road Traffic Act 1988, where an accident took place on a road or public place, not private land as in this case

The MIB was still unsuccessful in its fight and in February of this year its request for a referral to the Court of Justice of the European Union, which had previously made it clear that its directives were meant to protect all victims of motor accidents, not just those on public roads, was refused. This feels as if the correct decision was made and that the true purpose of the directive has been achieved, namely protecting individuals.

Immediate amendments must be made to the Road Traffic Act to align it with the current protections provided by the EU law

Rebecca Squires, DAS ATE Tech Supervisor

Of course, we can’t talk about cases involving the reliance on European Directives without mentioning Brexit. How does this impact future cases and will the directives still be able to support injured parties moving forward?

It would seem that this case has answered any doubts on how this type of incident should be dealt with in the future. However, it is really important, in these uncertain, post Brexit times, that people feel that the protections given to them under these directives are not going to be taken away from them. It would therefore appear that immediate amendments must be made to the Road Traffic Act to align it with the current protections provided by the EU law.

As is often the case when challenges are made at this level, this has taken a number of years to resolve. Most importantly, however, we are very pleased that this will now enable Mr Lewis to finally obtain the compensation he deserves.

DAS UK strives to do the right thing for its solicitor business partners and their clients. For further information on our products and services contact john.durbin@das.co.uk



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