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ENGLISH INSURANCE LAW

Lloyd's Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly

ENGLISH INSURANCE LAW

Margaret Hemsworth *

190. Cameron v Liverpool Victoria Insurance Co Ltd 1

Motor insurance—Road Traffic Act 1988, s.151—driver unidentified—whether motor insurer responsible to meet the claim
The claimant, Miss Cameron, and the other occupants of her vehicle sustained minor personal injuries in a road traffic collision with another vehicle. Miss Cameron’s vehicle was written off. The driver at fault had also collided with a second vehicle but had failed to stop at the scene. Fortuitously, a taxi driver had been able to note down both the make and the registration number of the vehicle at fault. That information had enabled the vehicle’s owner to be traced but, unsurprisingly in the circumstances, he denied having been the driver for the relevant date and time. He also refused to give any further information (and was subsequently convicted in the magistrates’ court for that separate offence). It transpired that the owner of the vehicle had no insurance, at least none taken out in his own name. It seemed, therefore, that the MIB Untraced Drivers’ Agreement2 applied to any possible claim by Miss Cameron because, whatever suspicions might reasonably be harboured about the owner of the vehicle, Miss Cameron could not prove that he had also been the driver, and so the driver, whoever he was, could be neither identified nor traced. When the claim was put to Liverpool Victoria (LV) as the insurer that had issued a policy, LV denied responsibility on the basis that Miss Cameron was unable to show that an insured person bore liability for the accident. Having undertaken some unspecified enquiries, LV had apparently concluded that the insured was a fictitious person. In short, the position of the insurer was that there was a policy of insurance in relation to the vehicle but no proven insured as having been at fault; in fact it might be said that there was no insured. Contractually at least, LV was not responsible. So much was clear: there was a potential source of compensation but no identified defendant and thus no ability to obtain a judgment. Those advising Miss Cameron sought to join LV in legal proceedings in order

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