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Report No. 85

1.12. Various alternatives adopted.-

In order to modify the common law rules of liability and the machinery for determining compensation as to accidents caused by the use of motor vehicles, numerous measures have been suggested in various countries.1 Many of them have been implemented by legislation. For example, there has been legislation in some countries under which, in the case of such accidents, fault need not be proved. Such legislation has come to be known as providing for "no fault" liability.2

In some countries, schemes have been enacted, whereunder the State would take over the liability for compensation, which is to be awarded irrespective of fault, though subject to a pecuniary limit3. In such schemes other consequential measures are contemplated for providing the necessary finances to the State. Then, there have been moves for shifting the burden of proof. While the requirement of fault may be retained, the burden of proof-that is to say, the burden of disproving fault-may be shifted to the owner of the vehicle. Measures have also been enacted in certain countries giving the victim a direct remedy against the insurer (and not merely against the wrong-doers). This is, in essence, a modification of the common law rule, whereunder privity is required to create liability.

1. Chapter 3, infra and Appendix 4, infra.

2. See further paras. 1.14 and 3.14, infra.

3. E.g. New Zealand Accident Compensation Act, 1972 (see Appendix 4, infra).

Claims for Compensation under Chapter 8 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 Back

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