Rome II: determining applicable law
in cross-border cases
Read time: 5 minutes
Rome II: determining applicable law in cross-border cases
In the case of Pickard v Marshall and Others; Generali France Assurances v Marshall and Others, in which Van Ameyde UK represented Generali, an appeal by a UK insurer to the Court of Appeal has been rejected so that the original decision of the High Court stands. This is thought to be the first reported case in the UK in which Art 4(3) has pointed back to the same law as Art 4(1) and will be interesting for multi-tort cases (such as a motor vehicle pile-up) when determining the applicable law.
The case relates to an accident in France in which an uninsured French car collided with two British nationals as they were standing behind a UK registered car and trailer, while the trailer was being attended to by a French registered recovery truck on the side of a motorway. After hitting the individuals the French car collided with the trailer, pushing it into the UK registered car which in turn was pushed into the recovery truck. One individual was thrown forward by the impact and landed clear of the vehicles and suffered serious injuries. The other was thrown off the front of the French car and the trailer fell on his leg. He died at the scene.
Two actions were commenced in England by the UK victims. The issues were (i) whether French or English law applied to the issue of liability; (ii) if French law applied, whether the UK vehicle and French recovery truck were “involved” within the meaning of the applicable French statute, Loi Badinter, and (iii) whether the MIB was liable under the 2003 Regulations. The Court determined that the applicable law was the law of France.
The decision provides a practical approach to complex multi-part cases subject to the ‘manifestly more closely connected’ test.