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Tara Ahari discusses the Supreme Court's decision in Moreno v Motor Insurers' Bureau

Moreno (Respondent) v The Motor Insurers’ Bureau (Appellant) [2016] UKSC 52

 

Tara Ahari is Civitas Law's current pupil. She will accept insutrctions in all areas of Chambers' work from the end of September. Contact the clerks for more details.

 

In May 2011, Ms Moreno - a UK resident - was hit by a car whilst on holiday in Greece. The car was registered in Greece and driven by an uninsured driver. Ms Moreno suffered serious injuries and claimed damages from the UK Motor Insurers’ Bureau, pursuant to The Motor Vehicles (Compulsory Insurance)(Information Centre and Compensation Body) Regulations 2003.

The 2003 Regulations rearranged a series of Council Directives which aim to compensate victims of motor accidents occurring in the European Union. They allow victims in certain circumstances to claim compensation directly from a designated body in their own country of residence (i.e. the MIB in the United Kingdom).

The preliminary issue in this appeal was whether the assessment of Ms Moreno’s damages ought to be calculated in accordance with English or Greek law; the former offering a more generous award.

Gilbart J at first instance considered that he was bound by the Court of Appeal decision Jacobs v Motor Insurers’ Bureau [2010] EWCA Civ 1208 that damages are to be determined by English law. A “leapfrog” certificate was subsequently granted in July 2015, allowing the case to move directly to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court unanimously allowed the appeal by the MIB. It was clear that the Directives do not allow individual member states to provide for compensation in accordance with their law of choice. Rather, they proceed on the basis that compensation will be measured according to the law of the state of the accident. That is irrespective of the legal route by which the claim is made.

It would appear that depriving Ms Moreno of a more generous award was regarded necessary and justified in the pursuit of a consistent approach to compensation in such cases.

Tara Ahari

Civitas Law

5 August 2016