On appeal from: [2015] EWHC 1002 (QB)

The Supreme Court has unanimously allowed an appeal, in a case that required the court to consider whether a claim to damages against the UK Motor Insurers’ Bureau was to be determined in accordance with English or Greek law, where the respondent had been injured by an uninsured driver while on holiday in Greece.

Various EU Directives, transposed into English law by the Motor Vehicles (Compulsory Insurance) (Information Centre and Compensation Body) Regulations 2003 (SI 2003 No 37) ensured that compensation was available for victims of motor accidents occurring anywhere within the EU. The scheme provided that victims could claim compensation directly from the designated compensation body in their own member state, in certain circumstances.

The High Court had felt bound by Court of Appeal jurisprudence to hold that English law was applicable, but granted a leapfrog appeal certificate to the Supreme Court. Permission was subsequently granted.

Lord Mance gave the lead judgment, with which the other Justices agreed. It found that the Directives proceeded on the basis that a victim’s compensation was to be measured on a consistent basis, by reference to the law of the state where the accident occurred. This position in EU law was clear. The 2003 Regulations were consistent with the Directives. The reference in Regulation 12(2)(b) to recovery “under the laws applying in the part of the United Kingdom in which the injured party resided at the date of the accident” was to determine which of the UK’s three legal systems should apply. It did not refer to the measure of recovery.

The Supreme Court overruled previous Court of Appeal case law on this point.

For judgment, please download: [2016] UKSC 52
For Court’s press summary, please download: Court’s Press Summary
For a non-PDF version of the judgment, please visit: BAILII

To watch the hearings please visit: Supreme Court website: (12 Jul 2016 morning session), (12 Jul 2016 afternoon session) and (13 Jul 2016 morning session)