Report No. 85
Motor Insurer Bureau in England.- In 1946 the Motor Insurers' Bureau in England entered into an agreement on the subject with the government (later replaced in November, 1972 by another agreement). Under the agreement, the Bureau undertook to satisfy unsatisfied judgments in respect of any liability1, required to be covered by a policy of motor vehicles insurance in specified cases. The Bureau even makes payments in the case of an unidentified hit-and-run driver-a matter governed by separate agreement. There is no legal liability on the part of the Bureau to the third party, as he is not privy to the Agreement, although the Minister might obtain specific performance2.
The statutory provisions for compulsory third party insurance, together with the agreement referred to above, do not, of course, cover every accident. The system was not intended to provide universal compensation, but only compulsory cover for negligence. The Bureau will repudiate liability when the accident has been caused in circumstances not legally required to be covered by insurance-e.g. wholly on private land as distinct from a road. Hence it is a condition precedent to recovery under such a system of liability insurance that a judgment should be obtained against the defendant if liability is contested by his insurance company.
The Bureau may require the party bringing the proceedings to take all reasonable steps to obtain judgment against all tortfeasors responsible, and in other ways the 1972 agreement gives it wide powers to control the steps to be taken by the injured party3. Hence it may still be necessary to embark on the lengthy and expensive process of a trial in order to prove fault, and if this cannot be proved, the plaintiff today is in no better position than he was forty years ago4.
1. (a) For the text of the 1946 agreement see Hardy v. M.I.B., (1964) 2 All ER 742;
(b) Also see Law Commission of India, 51st Report and (October 24, 1968) New Law Journal.
2. Gurtner v. Circuit, (1968) 2 QB 587: (1968) 1 All ER 323 (333).
3. White v. London Transport Executive, (1971) 2 QB 721.
4. As in Hunter v. Wright, (1938) 2 All ER 621.