An Englishman, a Northern Irishman and a Slovenian question

Transport Minister Andrew Jones MP (Harrogate & Knaresborough) replied this week to questions from Sammy Wilson MP (East Antrim) about how the UK Government intends to deal with the decision of the European Court in Damijan Vnuk v Zavarovalnica Triglav (a Slovenian case).

Mr Wilson – who backed the leave campaign, as did 55% of his constituents – represents a constituency with a large farming sector and his interest in Vnuk seems more likely to stem from that background than from the need for technical alignment of UK and EU motor insurance regimes.

Mr Jones’s answer, set out below, gives little away other than a commitment to consult “in due course”, whatever that means. Assuming the UK formally leaves the EU in or around March 2019 – based on the Prime Minister’s goal of triggering the two year window in Article 50 next March – then there appears still to be plenty of time for consultation and for discrete amendment to domestic road traffic law.

Making any necessary changes in the UK to reflect how the European institutions resolve Vnuk would certainly be in line with recent statements from Mr Jones’s Ministerial colleague John Hayes MP that “Until exit negotiations are concluded, the UK remains a full member of the European Union and all the rights and obligations of EU membership remain in force.”

Sammy Wilson, 14 September: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has made to bring forward legislative proposals to implement the ruling of the European Court of Justice of September 2014, Damijan Vnuk v Zavarovalnica Triglav C-162/13, on insurance for motorised vehicles used off-road and on private property.

Andrew Jones, 10 October: We oppose any measure that imposes unreasonable costs on British motorists, home owners and businesses. We are pleased to have achieved positive progress; the Commission has agreed in principle that the Motor Insurance Directive should be amended. They set out their high level proposals in an Inception Impact Assessment in June.

The Secretary of State will consult in due course on whether or not to make changes to how the Motor Insurance Directive is implemented in domestic law.

About the Author

akAlistair Kinley is BLM’s Director of Policy & Government Affairs.

Alistair is responsible for BLM’s engagement with government departments and regulators on policy and public affairs issues and consultations affecting the firm and its customers. He coordinated BLM’s market-facing activities in connection with the Insurance Act 2015 and the consultations which preceded its publication and introduction in Parliament.

He is a member of the Civil Justice Council (CJC), a regular speaker and experienced commentator on legal and procedural reforms and was a contributing editor to the Law Society’s Litigation Funding Handbook (September 2014).

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