Association of Personal Injury Lawyers
A not-for-profit organisation representing injured people

"No justification" for cutting insurance cover

28 Jul 2017
APIL news

A senior lawyer has warned that removing off-road vehicles from the scope of motor insurance would eliminate injured people and bereaved families from the justice system.

The European Commission is consulting on options for reform of compulsory motor insurance requirements. The Government favours an option to amend the Motor Insurance Directive so that insurance is only required when vehicles are used “in traffic”.

“A pedestrian could be seriously injured by a car on private land and there would be no available route to redress for him or his family, because the car would not need to be insured,” explained Brett Dixon, president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).

“How could it possibly be right for vehicles which can cause significant harm to be driven without insurance? There is no justification for it,” he said.

“It is wholly unreasonable that someone injured on a public road by a negligent driver can pursue an insurance claim to meet their needs but someone injured on a private road, by the same vehicle, cannot.”

A review of the Motor Insurance Directive follows a Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruling which decided that where a vehicle is used is no longer relevant in deciding whether it must be insured. A farm worker in Slovenia was injured by a reversing tractor but Slovenian law only required compulsory insurance for use of a vehicle as a means of transport on public roads. The CJEU ruled in favour of the farm worker, and he was compensated by the insurers of the tractor.

“Moves to bring UK law in line with the Motor Insurance Directive as it currently stands are well overdue,” said Mr Dixon.

“There is no need for hysteria about onerous insurance requirements for children’s toys and lawnmowers,” said Mr Dixon. “The UK Government has always had the power to exempt certain vehicles from the requirement for insurance, and should do so if the vehicles do not present a danger. Whether or not something can be exempt should be determined by maximum weight and speed.”


Notes to editors:

  • The European Commission has launched a four-week consultation.
  • APIL’s response to the Department of Transport’s technical consultation on amending the Road Traffic Act in line with Vnuk is here.
  • APIL (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers) is a not-for-profit organisation whose members are dedicated to campaigning for improvements in the law to help people who are injured or become ill through no fault of their own.
  • For more information contact APIL’s press and communications officer Jane Hartwell on t: 0115 943 5416, e: or assistant press and communications officer Lizzy Freeman on t: 0115 943 5431, e:
  • Visit the association’s website at
  • Follow @APIL on Twitter:

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Head of Public Affairs
Lorraine Gwinnutt
0115 943 5400

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Jane Hartwell
0115 943 5416

Press & Communications Officer
Iman Anthony
0115 943 5431