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The death of the “off road vehicle defence” is announced

News | Tue 14th Nov, 2017

For decades Insurers and the Motor Insurance Bureau have refused compensation to injured members of the public just because the negligent driver who caused the injuries was driving an off-road vehicle. Now that defence, which was always contrary to principle and undermined the whole raison d’etre of the Road Traffic Act 1988, has been pretty much abolished. Mr Justice Bryan in Lewington v MIB [2017] EWHC 2848, judgment attached here, ruled that the Act must be interpreted in accordance with the EC Directive on road traffic insurance and that the Directive does not permit derogation from the blanket obligation to insure vehicles used on public roads.

For Charli Lewington it has been a long hard fight. The MIB refused her application for compensation under the Untraced Drivers Agreement 2003. On appeal by way of arbitration Richard Methuen QC rejected her application on paper and then again after a full hearing. Finally 5 years and 8 months after the accident in which Ms Lewington suffered spinal fractures, the High Court has delivered justice.

Andrew Ritchie QC was instructed by Slater and Gordon, Manchester.

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