In Clinton David Jacobs v Motor Insurance Bureau  EWCA Civ 1208, the Court of Appeal held that where a person is injured by an uninsured driver and is entitled to recover from the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB), that person is entitled to recover damages assessed according to English law, rather than the law where the accident occurred.
The appellant, Mr Jacobs (a resident of the UK) was seriously injured when struck by a car while holidaying in Spain. The driver, a German national, was uninsured. It was common ground that there being no insurance in place to cover Mr Jacobs's claim, the MIB would provide cover. However, there was a dispute as to whether the level of compensation due was to be assessed according to English law, or the law of Spain. The MIB argued that according to EC Regulation No 864/2007 on the law applicable to non-contractual obligations (usually referred to as Rome II) Spanish law (the law of the country where the damage occurred) should apply. Mr Jacobs argued that under Regulation 13 of the EC (Rights against Insurers) Regulations 2002 (the Regulations) (which implemented the Fourth Motor Insurance Directive in the UK), where a claim was made by a resident of England against the MIB in circumstances where an accident occurred outside the UK and no insurer could be identified, the laws of England should be applied. As such, no issue of conflict of laws arose, and Rome II was not relevant.
Lord Justice Moore-Bick, delivering the judgment of the Court of Appeal, held that on the proper construction of Regulation 13, any compensation payable by the MIB was to be assessed according to English, not Spanish law. The language of Regulation 13(2)(b), which stated that "the compensation body [here the MIB] shall compensate the injured party...as if...the accident had occurred in Great Britain", was clear on this point. In the circumstances, Rome II did not apply; Regulation 13(b)(2) was not a choice of law clause, as it dealt solely with the extent of the MIB's obligation to provide compensation for the injury suffered, rather than with determining the liability of the wrongdoer.
It is now clear that where the MIB is obliged to pay compensation to those injured by uninsured drivers, the compensation payable will be assessed according to English law, regardless of where within the EU the accident occurred.