C of A clarifies the scope of the Fourth Motor Directive re insolvent insurers

In Wigley-Foster v Wilson and MIB [2016] EWCA Civ 454 the Court of Appeal allowed the claimant’s appeal against the decision dismissing her claim against the MIB. 


The claimant had been a passenger in a jeep driven by Ms Wilson into the path of an oncoming car. The jeep was insured with a Greek insurer. The claimant relied on the Fourth Motor Directive and regulations 11 and 12 of the Motor Vehicles (Compulsory Insurance and Compensation Body) Regulations 2003 to make a claim against the Greek insurer to its UK claims representative. The claimant received no reasoned reply within the statutory 3 month period.  

Some months later, the Greek insurer’s licence was revoked and it entered into a formal insolvency process. It was after the Greek insurer’s insolvency that the claimant notified the MIB that she intended to bring her claim against the MIB. The MIB refused to intervene on the basis that the Fourth Motor Directive did not apply where the insurer had become insolvent. The High Court agreed.

The appeal

On appeal, the Court of Appeal recognised that the MIB was seeking to read into the 4th Motor Directive a substantial qualification so as to terminate the right of the claimant which was established prior to the Greek insurer’s insolvency. This it should not do for the reasons set out by David Richards LJ at paras 38-41.

Robert Weir QC acted for the successful claimant in this appeal against MIB, leading Matthew Chapman of 1 Chancery Lane, instructed by Irwin Mitchell solicitors.

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