Supreme Court refuses permission to appeal

11 Apr 2017

Dr Robert Whittock, led by Robert Weir QC, sought permission to appeal the decision of the Court of Appeal in Sahin v Havard [2016] EWCA Civ 1202 that held:

  • permitting another to use a vehicle without insurance was not a liability that an insurer was obliged to satisfy under s.151 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (‘the Act’);

  • the scheme of the Act coupled with the Motor Insurers’ Bureau arrangements satisfied both the aim and spirit of Directive 84/5 and enabled third party victims of accidents to be compensated for damage to property and personal injuries they had sustained, and, accordingly there was no scope for construing s.145 of the Act differently;

  • the first defendant’s liability [causing and permitting an unknown uninsured driver to drive the vehicle] was not a liability covered under the policy of insurance.

In refusing permission to appeal, the Supreme Court considered that it was not necessary to request the Court of Justice to give any ruling because:

  1. the Motor Insurance Bureau provided appropriate protection in the present situation as contemplated by Article 2(1) of the Second Motor Directive 84/5/EEC.
  2. Independently of that, however, it is not possible to read either the English statutory scheme or the policy wording as providing cover in the present situation.
  3. There is no relevant point of EU law which is unclear or which requires a reference to the ECJ.


Claimants who are injured or suffer property damage as a result of an unknown uninsured driver can:

  • pursue a Wonk v Warbey claim against the person who caused or permitted the uninsured driver to drive the vehicle. However, the insurer is not required to satisfy such a liability under s.151(2)(a) of the Act.
  • seek redress from the Motor Insurance Bureau under the Untraced Drivers’ Agreement.