Legislation for automated driving

The 2016 Queen’s Speech included a “Modern Transport Bill” which was intended to set out the compulsory arrangements for insuring automated driving on UK roads. This title has been shelved and today the Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill was introduced in Parliament to address this issue.

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Vnuk consultation – aiming at a moving target?

The Government’s preferred approach here is ‎described as “the amended Directive option”. It is probably more pragmatic than the alternative  “comprehensive option”,  which could give rise to significant complications and unintended consequences for insurers and users of a wide range of motorised vehicles.

A big problem, however, is that we don’t know either what the amendment to the Directive might look like or what might be the timeframe for change – there has been nothing visible from the Commission since the change of the lead Commissioner necessitated by Lord Hill’s resignation after the UK’s EU referendum in June. To this extent, the DfT’s consultation may be in the unenviable position of aiming at a moving target – or even an unknown one.

Nevertheless, it remains important to engage with DfT on the consultation‎ and we shall continue to arrange meetings to address the detail in the 61 page paper. The attached one page summary may offer an easier way in, and please get in touch if you would like to get involved.


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).

Autonomous driving: Government response

There is huge public interest in the issue of driverless cars with Rory Ceglan-Jones reporting from the driving seat of a BMW at the CES Tech Show in Los Angeles on BBC News last week. The huge investment of not only the traditional manufacturers but also the “tech” companies demands a regulatory response at several levels and the UK Government (with DfT leading) has been at the forefront of recognising the need to change, the opportunities of a safer motor environment and the economic opportunities that arise from encouraging the adoption of the technology.

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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.

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A “market for lemons” – the Insurance Act 2015

It is of course very early days in the history of the Insurance Act. Day 61 since implementation and a long way to go before it approaches the nearly 40,000 day life span of its predecessor. It will be some time, perhaps years, before we will have a body of law on which to make an assessment of its legal quality and this will itself turn on the happenstance or peculiar facts testing terms, no doubt under the strain of a large loss. Yet are there any lessons to be learnt at this early stage?

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Enterprise Bill – Government adopts one year limitation period for late payment of claims

The Bill is back in the Lords next week for its report stage debate on 15 December. As we know, the Government is introducing the new obligation to pay insurance claims “within a reasonable time” via this Bill. This is, of course, a subjective test that will depend on the type of insurance, the complexity of the claim and on other factors. An insured will have a right to sue its insurer if this obligation is breached.

A late amendment tabled by the Government on 8 December now provides for a one year limitation period for this new action. The year runs from the expiry of the “reasonable time” in which the claim should have been paid. This limitation period is quite distinct to that which applies to the right to sue for the proceeds of the claim itself.

Attempts had been made, during the Bill’s earlier stages, to provide on the face of the Bill that legal privilege would necessarily attach to advice obtained by the insurer on the merits of the claim. It may well do, but the Government refused to set that out in the Bill. That said, Ministers have  now adopted a clear test on limitation, which was another aim of those proposing the clarification around privilege.


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).

The Internet of Things – the second digital revolution

The Internet of Things (IoT) is frequently described, without exaggeration,  as the “second digital revolution”.

The “traditional” method of information processing within industry and government  entails sourcing information internally from research and investigation and externally from public sources, the internet and information suppliers. The information is stored in databases and used to  produce analysis and reports on the basis of which human decisions and action are taken.

The IoT works very differently – sensors and actuators are embedded in physical objects and linked  to computers and smartphones by wireless networks including 4G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for analysis and responsive action.

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