Vnuk and Green Cards: announcements set out next steps and future changes

On 29 June 2021, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps MP published a Written Ministerial Statement titled European Motor Insurance Directive (Removal of Vnuk from UK law). This statement followed the previous announcement on 21 February this year of the UK Government’s decision not to follow the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) decision in Vnuk v Zavarovalnica Triglav dd [2016] (see our previous article here).

The Government’s decision was widely welcomed by the UK insurance market and the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB). Following Vnuk, a wide further range of vehicles could have fallen within the scope of compulsory insurance requirements, had the CJEU’s decision been implemented into UK law.

The recent Ministerial Statement reiterates the Government’s commitment “to remove the effects” of the Vnuk decision and its intention to continue exploring “bringing forward the necessary legislation as soon as parliamentary time allows.” In that context, reference is then made to the introduction of a Private Member’s Bill – the ‘Motor Vehicles (Compulsory Insurance) Bill’, which it says “aims to deliver the necessary legislative change", noting that the passage of which will be followed “with interest” by the government. The Bill was introduced to Parliament on 21 June 2021 and the Second Reading is scheduled to take place on 10 September 2021.

Green Card requirement for UK drivers soon to be lifted

On 30 June 2021 the European Commission announced its decision to waive the requirement for UK drivers to show a motor insurance Green Card when entering the European Union. The decision needs to be fully implemented through publication in the Official Journal of the European Union and then there is a waiting period of 20 days, so in the short term Green Cards are still needed.


Whilst it is questionable whether legislative change is required to counteract the impact of Vnuk (bearing in mind the Road Traffic Act 1988 had not been amended to comply with the CJEU’s decision in the first place), legislative change should bring clarity. This Ministerial Statement also further reiterates the government’s willingness to divert from EU law, something which is unlikely to have been feasible but for Brexit.

The European Commission’s decision to waive Green Cards for UK drivers has also been welcomed by the insurance industry and MIB, and is good news for UK motorists and haulage companies.

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