Court considers impact of Rome II on assessment of damages for English national injured by uninsured driver in Greece

The claimant, an English national, was injured by an uninsured driver in Greece who was driving a car which had been registered there. She therefore made a claim against the Motor Insurer's Bureau under Regulation 13 of the 2003 Regulations (which implemented the fourth motor insurance directive). Liability was admitted but there was a dispute as to whether the measure of compensation payable should be assessed in accordance with Greek or English law (in this case, the level of damages would be higher if assessed by English law).

The same issue was considered by the Court of Appeal in Jacobs v Motor Insurers' Bureau (see Weekly Update 40/10). There, it was held that English law governed the assessment of damages and it was said that the Rome II Regulation (which the ECJ eventually held was not in force at the relevant date inJacobs) would not change this position. This was despite the basic position prescribed by Rome II that, for claims in tort for personal injury, the law of the country in which the damage was inflicted applies to issues of both liability and damages.

In this case, Gilbart J agreed that the position prior to the coming into force of Rome II was that compensation was assessed in accordance with the law of the country hearing the claim (ie, here, the law of England and Wales). However, he said that since Rome II came into effect, if a UK claimant is injured in a motor accident in Greece by an uninsured driver, the law by which compensation will be calculated will be the law of Greece. However, he said that he was bound by the decision in Jacobs (even though he believes it was wrongly decided).

It is worth noting that the judge subsequently granted the MIB a certificate allowing it to appeal this decision directly to the Supreme Court.