Dr Nicholas Bevan

Dr Nicholas Bevan

Wednesday, 4 March 2015


The Court of Appeal's decision is expected soon.

In June last year I posted a blog reporting on Mr Justice Jay's important decision in Delaney v Secretary of State for Transport [2014] EWHC 1785, see DfT EXPOSED FOR DEFYING EU LAW.

I have been following this case with great interest.

This was a case in which the claimant was injured in a road traffic accident whilst riding in the car as a passenger.  He was refused compensation, first by the responsible driver's motor insurers and later by the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB). When he pursued his claim in court, he failed in the High Court and again in the Court of Appeal (Delaney v Pickett [2011] EWCA Civ 1532). I wrote a series of no holes barred critiques of both decisions in the New Law Journal and elsewhere explaining that our national law provision that permits the MIB to exclude liability to compensate such victims is inconsistent with superior European law and how both courts had failed in their duty to apply a European law consistent interpretation of our defective national law provision.

Unfortunately the European law aspect of this case came to the notice of the parties too late to take the case on to the Supreme Court.  A fresh team of barristers was instructed to pursue a claim against the Secretary of State for Transport, seeking compensation for the loss sustained by the claimant through the minister's failure to fully implement the European directives on motor insurance.  The claimant won this time.

Furthermore, the trial judge was highly critical of the minster's failure to undertake a proper comparative law exercise to ensure that the law that he was responsible was compliant with the relevant European law, despite the need for such a review being obvious following an earlier legal challenge.

However, the Secretary of State appealed that decision.  The Court of Appeal heard the minister's appeal on 10 and 11 February this year. Its judgment is expected sometime this Spring.  It would be wrong to comment on the likely outcome of the appeal but the writer is confident of a just outcome.

I will comment on the Court of Appeal's decision as soon as this is known.

The Delaney case is the tip of the iceberg. I have identified over 40 instances where our national law implementation fails to comply with the minimum standards of compensatory protection required under European law.

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