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European Motor Insurance Directive (Removal of Vnuk from UK law)

Statement made on 29 June 2021

Statement UIN HLWS126

Statement

My Right Honourable friend, the Secretary of State for Transport (Grant Shapps), has made the following Ministerial Statement.

On 21 February 2021, the Government announced it intended to remove the effects of the 2014 European Court of Justice’s ruling in the Vnuk case from GB law. The Government has been clear since the ruling in 2014 that it does not agree with it. The decision directed the unnecessary extension of the provisions requiring motor insurance to private land as well as a greater range of vehicles that potentially includes motorsports, agricultural machinery and light electric vehicles. This has led to excessive liabilities on the insurance industry, and to potential increases in motorist’s insurance premiums. Delivering on this commitment is a priority for the Government and we will continue to explore bringing forward the necessary legislation as soon as parliamentary time allows.

The Hon. Member for Wellingborough has introduced a private member’s bill entitled ‘Motor Vehicles (Compulsory Insurance)’ which aims to deliver the necessary legislative change. The Government will follow passage of this bill with interest.

Background

  • Vnuk is a 2014 European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling on the case of a Slovenian farmer - Mr Vnuk - who was knocked off his ladder by a reversing tractor trailer on a private farm in 2007.
  • The ruling directed that the compulsory motor insurance requirement must be extended to include vehicles being used on private land, as well as a greater range of vehicles - potentially including those used in motorsports, agricultural machinery and light electric vehicles (LEV).
  • This contrasts sharply with the scope of the domestic compulsory insurance requirement (in GB) under the Road Traffic Act 1988 (RTA) which is limited to accidents on roads and other public places and has a narrower definition of “motor vehicle”.
  • Implementing Vnuk would have been costly, in the region of £2 billion (covering existing motorcars, existing motorcycles, existing business vehicles, motor sports and other business) according to the Government Actuary’s Department (GAD).
  • Focusing just on existing motorcars, GAD calculate that insurance policyholders could face an estimated additional cost of £1.227 billion if Vnuk was implemented – expressed as a potential increase in individual insurance premiums of c.£50 for 25 million consumers.
  • In order to remove the impact of the Vnuk decision from GB law, primary legislation is required and a slot to introduce this will be sought at the earliest possible opportunity

Linked statements

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons

Department for Transport
European Motor Insurance Directive (Removal of Vnuk from UK law)
Grant Shapps
Secretary of State for Transport
Conservative, Welwyn Hatfield
Statement made 29 June 2021
HCWS131
Commons