In this case the Claimant was hit by the Defendant driver who failed to stop, was never identified but the offending vehicle and the insurer were. We take a look at this judgment and compare it with a similar one insured by ourselves.
The owner of the car although not the driver at the time was convicted for failing to provide details of the driver so the Claimant (Mrs Cameron) initially brought a claim against the owner (Mr Hussain).
As there was no evidence the latter was the driver the insurer (LV) was added to the claim for a declaration they would be liable to meet any judgment against the driver. On application, LV were successful in having the claim dismissed against them.
The Court of Appeal allowed Mrs Cameron’s appeal by a 2-1 majority; the court had the discretion to permit an unknown person to be sued even if there was recourse available to through the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB).
LV appealed to the Supreme Court and their appeal was allowed. It was held that service on the insurer would not constitute service on the driver unless the insurer had contractual authority to accept service – or to appoint solicitors to do so. In this case the driver was not the policy holder and alternative service on the insurer could not be expected to reach the driver responsible for the accident.
At a preliminary hearing, the claim against the MIB was struck out and the Claimant ordered to pay the cost of the application amounting to around £20,000. The judge made the decision that the MIB should not have been a party if there was a strong possibility that insurance cover would be in place and felt QOWCS would not apply. Counsel for the Claimant previously advised that the MIB needed to be a party because there was no admission from either insurer that they were either a Section 151 or Article 75 insurer.
In the judgment, Lord Sumption said the availability of compensation from the MIB makes it unnecessary to suppose that some way must be found of making the insurer liable for the underlying wrong when their liability is limited by statute to satisfying judgments.
Contrast this case with one insured by Temple Legal Protection recently where the Defendant driver was known; because the car the Defendant was driving was a hire car there were 2 possible insurers, but neither were confirming cover. Owing to this state of affairs the MIB were joined to the proceedings.