In December 2016 we reported on the “Vnuk Judgement” which concerned a 2014 decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union in relation to the judgement’s possible effects on proposed changes to motor vehicle use and motor insurance within the European Union.
“The Vnuk judgement concerned a case before the European Court of Justice about a man (Mr Vnuk) who was injured when he was knocked off a ladder by a trailer that was attached to a tractor, in a barn in Slovenia. The effect of the judgment is that any vehicle that falls within the Motor Insurance Directives’ definition of a vehicle should have a compulsory motor insurance policy.”
The Vnuk judgement requires all vehicles to have compulsory insurance when in use.
Vehicles “in use” brought within the scope of the Motor Insurance Directive by virtue of the Vnuk judgment are: electrically assisted pedal cycles, construction vehicles, agricultural vehicles, Segways, ride -on lawnmowers, motorsports vehicles, mobility scooters, golf buggies, motorised ride-on children’s toys, fairground rides (e.g. dodgems), fork lift trucks, dumper trucks, engineering plant and quad bikes (off-road construction).
This means whether these are parked up, on farms, motor (racing) tracks, on private land (no public access), or having a vehicle on a private dwelling.
The UK government had issued a consultation and although the European Commission recognised the significant nature of the judgment and had proposed an amendment to the Directive to limit the effect of the Vnuk judgment, action was to have been taken in the third quarter of 2016, which effectively did not happen.
However FIM Europe have just reported they have learned, “That action is expected in the next six weeks with publication by the EU Commission of draft amendments to the Motor Insurance Directive.”
The full article from FIM Europe is transcribed below.
FIM Europe welcomes decision by EU to act on the Vnuk case
The decision in the Vnuk case has serious implications for the future of motorcycle sport in Europe.
FIM Europe has learned that action is expected in the next six weeks with publication by the EU Commission of draft amendments to the Motor Insurance Directive. Welcome news is that this will be done specifically to address the problems raised by the Vnuk judgment and overall revision of the Directive will be kept separate.
As the EU institutions will have to agree, a full process will be required with public consultation, impact assessment and approval by the EU Parliament.
So how did we reach this position?
The case had nothing to do with motorcycle or motor sports. Mr Vnuk was injured in a fall from a ladder in a farmyard when the ladder was struck by a trailer pulled by a tractor – an industrial accident.
The European Court of Justice decided to award Mr Vnuk legal protection by extending the scope of the Motor Insurance Directive. There is no appeal because the ECJ is the highest court in the European Union.
In framing their judgment the Justices extended the scope to the point where many other activities (including motorcycle and motorsports) are now affected.
Commenting, FIM Europe President Dr. Wolfgang Srb said: “We have sympathy for Mr Vnuk. We hope that the unintended consequences of this judgment can be resolved by the EU institutions by quarter four of 2017. This will be a year later than originally planned. FIM Europe will attend to each stage in the process and do everything to assist in obtaining a resolution”.
FIM Europe Director of Public Affairs, John Chatterton-Ross added: “This is one of the most complex issues we have ever faced in our sport. Jurisdiction in personal injury litigation is a matter for national law. In this case the Court of Justice used EU law to remedy what it perceived as a defect in the national law of Slovenia. FIM Europe will contribute to the consultation process and assist the EU institutions to resolve this”.
Motorcycle Minds – The Vnuk Judgment