Court of Appeal upholds Francovich claim against Secretary of State for Transport

09 Mar 2015

Delaney v Secretary of State for Transport [2015] EWCA Civ 172

In a unanimous ruling, the Court of Appeal this morning dismissed the Secretary of State’s appeal against the award of Francovich damages in respect of the UK’s failure to implement correctly the Second Motor Insurance Directive.

In June 2014, Mr Justice Jay held that the Department of Transport’s decision to agree a new ‘crime exception’ in the Uninsured Drivers’ Agreement 1999 was contrary to the UK’s obligations under the Second Directive. The Court went on to find that the UK’s breach was sufficiently serious to warrant the payment of Francovich damages to Mr Delaney, who had been seriously injured following a collision in which he was a passenger in 2006.

In the Court of Appeal, Lords Justices Richards, Sales and Kitchin unanimously dismissed the Secretary of State’s appeal.

Delivering the lead judgment, Lord Justice Richards expressed “no hesitation” in dismissing the Secretary of State’s submissions that the Second Directive provided any discretion for the UK government to introduce additional exceptions, noting that “the aim of protecting victims … is stated repeatedly in the directives and suffuses the reasoning of the Court of Justice in the case-law.” On the issue of whether the government’s breach of the Directive had been sufficiently serious, the Court of Appeal agreed with Mr Justice Jay that this was “a case where the Member State had little or no relevant discretion”, and agreed with his conclusion that the government’s breach had been sufficiently serious to warrant the payment of damages.

Permission to appeal to the Supreme Court was refused.

Philip Moser QC and Eric Metcalfe, instructed by Bakers Personal Injury Solicitors, acted for Mr Delaney.

Click to read the full Delaney v Secretary of State for Transport judgment.