Dr Nicholas Bevan

Dr Nicholas Bevan

Friday, 9 May 2014


Accidents abroad within the European Union

Leading national weekly law journal, the New Law Journal, has just published my latest feature, Where to sue?’.  This article reviews the European Regulations that govern jurisdiction and applicable law in cross border road traffic accidents within the European Union. It then moves on to consider some recent developments that make it easier to act for clients injured abroad within the EU.  Nice to have some good news to impart for a change!

Also, I am delighted to note that Robert Weir QC has succeeded, yet again, before the Court of Appeal.  In my New Law Journal article I reported on the excellent outcome in Wall v Mutuelle De Pitiers Assurances [2013] EWHC 53 (QB) in which he represented the claimant.  The Wall case involved an English motorcyclist who was injured during a motoring holiday in France.  Mr Justice Tugendhat ruled that it is our Civil Procedure Rules, and not French civil procedure, that should determine the way the evidence is prepared in a claim like this.  The French insurers didn’t like our more elaborate Anglo-Saxon approach and appealed.  In arguably the most important ruling in this area since Harding v Wealands [2007] 2 A.C. 1, the insurer’s appeal was dismissed and unanimously so: by Longmore, Jackson and Clarke LJJ.  It hard to imagine a more cerebral tribunal!  The judgment in Wall v Mutuelle De Pitiers Assurances [2014] EWCA Civ 138 is freely available on BAILII. 

The European Commission are considering further reforms to make it easier for victims to bring proceedings in their local courts following a road accident in a foreign member state.  There is even talk of introducing an exception to Rome II so that the applicable substantive law would be that of the local court where the victim is domiciled. Somehow, I think that is unlikely to be achievable in the foreseeable future but do watch this space for other impending developments.

Accidents Abroad in the European Union, Brussels I, Rome II, Hague Convention, Foreign applicable law, jurisdiction, Motor Insurance Directives, Spedition Welter, Wall v Mutuelle, Cox v Ergo, Nemeti v Sabre, Homawoo v GMF Assurances, Stylianou v Toyoshima
New Law Journal feature: Where to sue? Nicholas Bevan, 9 May 2014
The article refers to the following cases:
  • FBTO Schadeverzekeringen NV -v- Jack Odenbreit, CJEU 2007 Case 0463/06
  • Spedition Homawoo v GMF Assurances Case C 412/10
  • Welter GmbH v Avanssur SA Case C-306/12
  • Stylianou v Toyoshima [2013] EWHC 2188 (QB)
  • Petillo v Unipol Assicurazioni SpA [2014] CJEU Case C 371/12
  • Drozdovs v Baltikums AAS [2013] CJEU C-277/12
  • Wall v Mutuelle De Poitiers Assurances [2013] EWHC 53 (QB) (see above for the appeal)
  • Cox v Ergo Versicherung AG [2014] UKSC 22
  • Nemeti and others v Sabre Insurance Co. Ltd [2013] EWCA Civ 1555

It also refers to the following:
  • Council Regulation (EC) no 44/2001 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters, aka ‘Brussels I’
  • The Lugano Convention 2007
  • Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments Act 1982
  • Council Regulation (EC) No 864/2007 on the law applicable to non-contractual obligations, aka ‘Rome II’
  • The Fourth Motor Insurance Directive (200/26/EC)
  • The Sixth Motor Insurance Directive (2009/123/EC)
  • The Hague Convention 1971 

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