Dr Nicholas Bevan

Dr Nicholas Bevan

Monday, 17 March 2014


In August 2013 the Law Commission approached me to ask me to submit my proposals for reforming the United Kingdom's provision for ensuring that victims of motor accidents receive their full compensatory entitlement. I was informed that they decided to contact me after reading my four-part feature On the Right Road?, which was published in the New Law Journal in February 2013.  All very flattering!

I duly submitted a detailed paper in October 2013 in which I set out precisely what was wrong with the Road Traffic Act 1988, the European Community Rights Against Insurance Regulations 2002, the Uninsured Drivers Agreement 1999 and the Untraced Drivers Agreement 2003.  All of these national law provisions contain elements that are unlawful in that they conflict with superior Community law provision.  I explained how the original legislative objective within the Road Traffic Act 1930 had been steadily eroded, how our current national law provision fails to meet the minimum standards of protection required under European Law, which coincidentally is similar to the original 1930 concept that had the protection of victims as its overriding concern. I also explained how some recent Court of Appeal rulings had compounded the problem by failing to interpret our national law consistently with the Motor Insurance Directives and the Court of Justice of the European Union.

A long silence ensued.

Last week I received a polite 'Dear John' letter from the Law Commission indicating that it cannot become involved in reviewing this area of the law without the support of the Department for Transport.  In other words, although they would like to include reform in this area in their 12th Programme, this has been blocked by the Minister, as is his prerogative.

I ask, as Marcus T Cicero might have done: cui bono?  Surely it is the motor insurance industry that benefits most from obstructing reform in this area.  According to the Minister's statement of intent, he has been in detailed discussions with for nearly four years now, still with no tangible result.

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