Under UK law, motor vehicles need to be insured only in respect of incidents occuring on a 'road or other public place'. This has caused significant problems in past cases in which an accident has occurred on private property arising from the use of a vehicle because the insurer often argues that a motor policy does not cover the accident and the owner of the vehicle is left uninsured.
However, the Road Traffic Act provisions with regard to compulsory motor insurance will need to be reviewed as a result of the decision of the European Court of Justice in Vnuk -v- Zavarovalnica. This involved an accident when Mr Vnuk fell from a ladder which was hit by a tractor and trailer on a private farm when stacking hay bales in a barn. He brought a claim for his injuries against the tractor's insurers but the Slovenian courts found that the insurance did not cover the tractors use in a private farm yard.
The European Court of Justice decided differently and found that compulsory motor insurance must cover any accident arising from the use of a motor vehicle 'consistent with the normal function' of that vehicles. Restrictions such as requiring compulsory motor insurance to only cover accidents on a road or public place are therefore inconsistent with this decision and motor insurers will now need to carefully consider the scope of their motor policies and the Government will have to look at the Uninsured and Untraced Drivers Agreements. et
Cars driven solely on private property may need to be insured in future and all motor insurance policies amended following a recent decision by the European Court of Justice,