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Supreme Court makes International Motor Insurance decision


Sarah Crowther appeared as junior counsel for the respondent victim of a road traffic accident in Greece in 2011. Tiffany Moreno, a young mother was pushing a buggy along the side of a road in Greece, when she was struck by an uninsured vehicle which failed to negotiate the bend. She suffered devastating injuries to her legs, resulting in a below knee amputation of one leg.

Tiffany is a Welsh resident and brought her claim against MIB under regulations passed by the UK in 2003 in order to comply with the 4th Motor Insurance Directive in respect of victims of uninsured vehicles in Europe. MIB argued that its responsibility was limited to acting as if it were the guarantee fund in Greece and that accordingly damages should be assessed under Greek law.

The claim was subject of a leapfrog appeal to the Supreme Court, because there was previous Court of Appeal authority which stated that English law should apply to the issue.

The Supreme Court allowed the appeal, after reviewing the legislative history and purpose of the Motor Insurance Directives, it was held that MIB was liable on the same basis that the Greek guarantee fund would have been.

It is likely that this decision will have an effect in respect of other cases, although the absolute number of such claims is quite small – about 50 to 90 each year.

Barristers: Sarah Crowther QC
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