According to Rome II English judges should ordinarily apply the law of the country where the accident occurs when calculating the value of a claim for an accident in the EC. However, an English court was recently persuaded to apply English law to an accident in Spain involving an uninsured German driver after the claim was litigated against the MIB.

Mr Jacobs suffered very serious injuries when he was struck by a car whilst on holiday in Spain. The driver was uninsured and the claimant therefore lodged a claim in the English courts against the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB). The MIB argued that damages should be awarded according to Spanish law, rather than English law, and the High Court judge agreed. This meant the claimant would recover a significantly lower sum of compensation.

After a three year legal battle Mr Jacobs successfully overturned the decision, persuading the Court of Appeal to apply English law when quantifying the value of the claim.

Mr Jacobs needs several more operations and further physiotherapy and rehabilitation, so the decision is a particularly important one for him and his family. It also paves the way for other holidaymakers injured in Europe by uninsured drivers to be compensated according to English levels of damages.

However, the MIB are appealing this decision and the case will now be heard in the Supreme Court.