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Brexit, Package Tours and RTA’s – an accident waiting to happen?

By David Stoker, Senior Underwriter

(Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 7 seconds)

With the news agenda understandably dominated by other matters, Brexit nowadays rarely gets a mention. The process though has continued and we are now in the transitional period, having left the EU on the 31st January this year. In this article we look at what happens if the transitional period is not extended and a withdrawal agreement cannot be reached? Additionally, what happens to travel claims post 31/12/2020? Below is our view, but we are also seeking yours in order to form a consensus.

The short, and short-term, answer is reassuring – things will stay the same until the end of December this year – but thereafter the Withdrawal Act will come into force.

As you will know, many of our consumer rights are derived from EU directives. Parliament legislated in order for new Directives to become part of UK domestic law in the form of Regulations. So, logically, the Package Travel Regulations (including the 2018 Regulations) should still apply. That is how it seems, and will remain so, unless and until Parliament changes the legislation in the future – something it is perfectly entitled to do post 31/12/2020. That is how we see it, but we welcome any views you may have – please see below for my contact details.

Road Traffic Accidents in the EU seem less clear. Lawyers will be aware that a UK driver involved in a road traffic accident in the EU can submit details of their personal injury claim to an agent of the ‘at fault’ driver’s insurer based in this country. Following a no-deal Brexit, it is of note that the Motor Insurance Directives and decisions of the European Court of Justice, that have facilitated this process previously, may well no longer apply.

The Bar Council have called on the government to take steps to ensure UK judgments can still be enforced in Europe, and the Pan European Organisation of Personal Injury Lawyers (PEOPIL) recently met with the Ministry of Justice and Department of Transport to discuss how the current arrangements could be maintained. If anyone is aware of any updates or progress made, news of this would be greatly appreciated – again, please see below for contact details.

A UK driver involved in an accident in the EU with an uninsured or untraced drivers may also find other countries do not have a guarantee fund like our MIB. The MIB are currently working on bilateral compensation agreements with EU countries. Therefore there should be some bilateral protection with states who have signed both the EU and EEA agreements.

The UK will probably be withdrawn from the current 4th Directive arrangements (Protection of Visitors Scheme), which allows victims of road traffic collisions in EU or EEA countries to make compensation claims in their own country and language. Again the MIB has asked the Bureaux and Guarantee Funds of EU and EEA states to sign bi-lateral Protection of Visitors agreements to facilitate the exchange of information. This should assist victims in obtaining the information they need to make claims in the country where the accident occurred.

In summary, and in my view, it seems that the Package Travel Regulations will still apply after a ‘no-deal Brexit’ unless Parliament repeals the Regulations. This is long as any RTA occurs in an EU/EEA state which has signed a bilateral agreement with the UK, therefore the situation should remain broadly the same as it is now.

Your view of the future if no deal is reached at the end of the transition period would be much appreciated; specifically what preparations you are making or your plans to alter the way in which you work, especially if you are instructed in a RTA matter abroad where there is no bilateral agreement? Please do email david.stoker@temple-legal.co.uk or call me on 01483 514808.

David Stoker

David Stoker

Senior Underwriter
Read articles by David Stoker

David Stoker

David joined Temple in August 2015 having previously been an underwriter for another ATE insurance provider for nearly 9 years dealing with all aspects of personal injury work.

David’s experience allows him to undertake a key role in Temple’s ATE insurance personal injury and clinical negligence teams. He also participates in the assessments of delegated schemes that Temple provide with the objective of helping our customers make the most of the products and services Temple has to offer.

David has a LLB honours degree in law and also completed the Legal Practice Course at Guildford College of Law obtaining a commendation. He has worked as a personal injury case handler for 2 firms of solicitors post-graduation before moving into LEI.

 

Read articles by David Stoker