European Union: Road Traffic Act: Scope Of MIB Liability For Accidents On Private Land Considered

Last Updated: 1 October 2018
Article by Clyde & Co LLP

The High Court has extended the liability of the MIB, requiring it to meet claims for uninsured motor accidents which occur on private land.

Mr Justice Soole ruled that an off-road traffic accident is not a liability required to be insured against under the Road Traffic Act. However, the Court did find that the Motor Insurers Bureau is an 'emanation of the State', meaning that the provisions of the Motor Insurance Directive ("the Directive") can be directly enforced against the MIB.

The MIB is therefore required to satisfy judgments pursuant to the Directive, even where the liability established does not require insurance under the Road Traffic Act 1988, including off-road accidents.

This ruling further highlights the current incompatibility between UK and European law following the landmark decision in Vnuk.


The Claimant was injured whilst walking on private land by an uninsured motor vehicle driven by Mr Tindale. The Claimant pursued a claim against Mr Tindale and the MIB.

The MIB did not dispute that Mr Tindale was liable for the accident. The MIB did argue that as the Claimant's injuries were not sustained on a "road or other public place" per section 145 of the Road Traffic Act, it had no liability further to the Uninsured Drivers Agreement.

In the High Court, Mr Justice Soole was asked to consider the following issues:

  1. Whether a judgment obtained against Mr Tindale by the Claimant would result in a liability required to be insured under the Road Traffic Act ("RTA");
  2. If a judgment obtained did not result in such a liability, whether the MIB was liable to satisfy it further to the Motor Insurance Directive ("the Directive");
  3. Whether the provisions of the Directive have direct effect against the MID;

The second and third propositions dealt with effectively the same issue.


Mr Justice Soole rejected the first proposition, confirming that any judgment obtained by the Claimant against Mr Tindale was not a liability required to be insured under Part VI of the RTA.

Section 145(3) of the RTA requires that a motor policy must insure injury to a third party as a result of the use of a vehicle on a road or other public place. The Court found that that interpreting section 145(3) to include use of a vehicle on private land would represent an amendment of the RTA. Such an amendment would go "against the grain and thrust" of the RTA.

However, in respect of the second and third propositions, Mr Justice Soole agreed.

The Claimant submitted that Article 3 of the Directive gave him the right to be compensated for the accident, irrespective of whether the vehicle used was on private land. The Claimant argued if domestic legislation did not implement this right, then it was directly effective, and could be enforced against an 'emanation of the (relevant EU Member) State'.

The Claimant sought to assert that the MIB was an emanation of the United Kingdom state. The decision of the European Court of Justice in Farrell v Whitty (Case C -413/15) was referred to. This case categorised that the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland as an emanation of the Irish state.

Mr Justice Soole agreed with the Claimant's submissions. The decision in Vnuk and subsequent cases made it clear that compulsory insurance obligations extended to vehicle use on private land.

The MIB sought to argue that Farrell was distinguishable, on the basis that it involved a defective implementation of the Directive, as opposed to no implementation of the Directive in this matter. The Court dismissed this, stating that "in each case there has been an incomplete implementation" of the Directive by the relevant Member State; again confirming that UK law was in part no longer compatible with the Directive.

Mr Justice Soole was mindful of "the MIB's central point that it is a private law body whose contract with the Secretary of State (UDA 1999) requires it only to meet a satisfied Part VI liability." However, in being unable to distinguish this matter with Farrell, "the State's unimplemented obligation under the MID must be met by its designated compensation body," in this case, the MIB.

The liability of the MIB was confirmed to be up to €1 million per the minimum guarantee limit at the time of the accident.

The MIB sought and has been granted permission to appeal the decision.

What can we learn?

  • The decision arguably extends the obligations of the MIB beyond its agreements, and will have important ramifications for the potential liabilities of the MIB.Once again, the decision has shone a light on the effects of the incompatibility of the Road Traffic Act with the provisions of the Motor Insurance Directive following Vnuk.
  • Proposals to amend the domestic law on motor insurance, following Roadpeace, have stalled following the publication of stakeholder responses in July 2017.However, in the absence of clarity regarding harmonisation with the European Union after Brexit, it is perhaps unsurprising.
  • It remains unclear what action the UK government will take to make the Road Traffic Act compliant with the MID, or if it will ensure equivalency of policies, in future. The European Commission's REFIT consultation proposed changes to the Directive, which could affect any further efforts at harmonisation of the domestic legislation in the UK.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions