Dr Nicholas Bevan

Dr Nicholas Bevan

Thursday, 5 June 2014


Department for Transport in denial

According to the Daily Telegraph coverage of Mr Justice Jay's decision in Delaney v Secretary of State [2014] EWHC 1785, see article published on 4 July 2014, the Department for Transport spokesperson said:
‘We are looking closely at the judgment and are minded to appeal. Even if the judgment were to stand, claims will be excluded from compensation where serious criminality and a close connection between the crime and the accident can be shown.’
Is this bravado or have they really learnt so little from their futile defence? 
The reason why this rather unappealing claimant succeeded in his claim against the Secretary of State for Transport is that the European Motor Insurance Directives permit only one instance where the MIB can lawfully exclude liability to compensate a victim of an uninsured driver in circumstances that require compulsory third party insurance cover.  That exception is confined by what is now article 10.2 of the Sixth Motor Insurance Directive to ‘persons who voluntarily entered the vehicle which caused the damage or injury when the body can prove that they knew it was uninsured.  
It is a simple binary issue: either the case facts match this single criterion or they don’t.  If they do, then the MIB can lawfully exclude liability to compensate; if they don’t they can’t.  Is this really so difficult?
So it is irrelevant whether the injured passenger is a shop lifter travelling home after a long day’s lifting with his takings, or a drug dealer visiting his customer or even a wife beater en route to perpetrate his crime. 
The Secretary of State for Transport should understand, like it or not, that in this country the law applies equally to saints and sinners.  Outlawry no longer holds sway.  No one is above or below the law; not even a minister of state.  So will he please discharge his legal responsibility as a Minister and reform our national law provision in this area so that it complies, at the very least, with the minimum standards imposed under European Community law.

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