R and S Pilling (T/A Phoenix Engineering) v UK Insurance Ltd: SC 27 Mar 2019

The driver’s car failed its MOT., He took it to private premises to repair. In those repairs, inflammable materials ignited and the fire spread those premises and adjoining third party premises. The premise’ insurers paid the owners of both and claimed an indemnity from the driver. His motor policy covered him, as required in respect of third party claims from any accident involving his car while being driven or used on a public road. His insurer sought a declaration that the policy did not cover the claim against the driver since the policy limited itself to use on roads. The repair did not fall within ‘use’ for the purposes of section 145(3) of the Act. The owner of the repair premises counterclaimed for a declaration that the motorist’s insurer was liable for damage suffered and third parties arising from the fire. The judge granted the declaration sought by the motorist’s insurer but the Court of Appeal allowed an appeal by the owner of the premises and granted the declaration sought in the counterclaim.
Held: The appeal succeeded. The policy was to be construed so that its third party cover met the RTA requirements>
of the RTA. The certificate did not purport to provide additional cover in itself, and
because the relevant legislation treats a certificate of insurance as distinct from a policy, it is therefore necessary to read words into clause 1a. The CA had gone too far in making the extension to cover the losses.
‘Use’ in EU law is not confined to a road or other public place. It extends to any use of a vehicle as a means of transport. To comply with EU law, Parliament may need to reconsider the wording of the RTA, but the RTA may not be ‘read down’ to comply by excising the words ‘on a road or other public place’ because this would go against the grain and thrust of the legislation. It is therefore the cover required by the RTA, not EU law, that must be read into the policy. In case of such an omission being identified, the Court may adopt a corrective construction, but here such an extension beyond the RTA express provisions but no further.
In this case it was the negligence in the conduct of the repair, not any use of the vehicle which caused the actual damage.

Baroness Hale of Richmond Psc, Lord Wilson, Lord Hodge, Lady Arden,Lord Kitchin Jjsc
[2019] UKSC 16, UKSC 2017/0096, [2019] 2 All ER (Comm) 793, [2019] 3 All ER 917, [2019] Lloyd’s Rep IR 404, [2019] 2 WLR 1015, [2019] WLR(D) 199, [2020] AC 1025, [2019] RTR 28
Bailii, Bailii Summary, SC, SC Summary, SC Video Summary, SC 18 Dec 13 am Viudeo, SC 18 Dec 13 pm Video, WLRD
Road Traffic Act 1988
England and Wales
CitedPfeiffer v Deutsches Rotes Kreuz, Kreisverband Waldshut eV (1) ECJ 5-Oct-2004
ECJ Reference for a preliminary ruling: Arbeitsgericht Lorrach – Germany. Social policy – Protection of the health and safety of workers – Directive 93/104/EC – Scope – Emergency workers in attendance in . .
CitedChartbrook Ltd v Persimmon Homes Ltd and Others HL 1-Jul-2009
Mutual Knowledge admissible to construe contract
The parties had entered into a development contract in respect of a site in Wandsworth, under which balancing compensation was to be paid. They disagreed as to its calculation. Persimmon sought rectification to reflect the negotiations.
Held: . .
CitedVnuk v Zavarovalnica Triglav DD ECJ 26-Feb-2014
ECJ Opinion – Automobile Liability Insurance – Concept of ‘vehicular’ – Accident caused by a tractor with a trailer during harvest bales of hay in a barn . .
ApproveeLister v Romford Ice and Cold Storage Co Ltd CA 1956
Where an employer is found vicariously liable for an employee’s actions, they are entitled to recover an indemnity from them, to cover such losses.
Held: An accident which occurred in the yard of a slaughterhouse did not arise out of use on . .
CitedInman v Kenny and Another CA 12-Jan-2001
The claimant was sat below an embankment. A motorcycle driven by the defendant left the path at the top of the embankment landing on her causing serious injuries. . .
CitedLewis v Tindale and Others QBD 14-Sep-2018
The court was asked as to the liability of the Motor Insurer’s Bureau for an accident not occurring on a public road.
Held: Soole J said that section 145 should not be read down, because reading down would go against the grain and thrust of . .
CitedRoadPeace v Secretary of State for Transport Admn 7-Nov-2017
RoadPeace challenged certain legislation, as to compulsory insurance for motor vehicles, and for payment of compensation for personal injury and damages caused by uninsured driver, saying that it failed properly to implement European law.
At First InstanceUK Insurance Ltd v Holden QBD 2017
The car owner was repairing his car, but his negligence caused a fire which extended to a neighbour’s property. The insurance companies sought declarations as to liability under his road traffic insurance policy. . .
Appeal from (CA)UK Insurance Ltd v Rands Pilling (T/A Phoenix Engineering) CA 12-Apr-2017
. .
CitedElliott v Grey QBD 1959
The defendant had left his car on the roadway. It was raised on bricks, and the battery was removed. He appealed his conviction for it not being insured.
Held: The conviction was correct. The acts of the defendant fell within the mischief of . .
CitedClarke v Kato and Others; Cutter v Eagle Star Insurance Co Ltd HL 25-Nov-1998
Save exceptionally, a car park is not a road for the purposes of road traffic legislation on obligatory insurance. It is an unjustified strain on the language. A distinction made between the road ways and the parking bays was artificial and . .
CitedPumbien v Vines QBD 14-Jun-1995
A car on left on the road is used for MOT and insurance purposes even though it might be immobilized. . .
CitedBrown v Roberts 1965
The statutory concept of ‘use’ where a vehicle is parked but not lawfully drivable is that the owner has an element of control, management or operation of the vehicle while it is on the road . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Insurance, Road Traffic, European

Updated: 23 January 2022; Ref: scu.635122