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The Law of Unintended Consequences (or Determining Applicable Law in Cross-Border Cases) - Kelvin Farmaner, Trethowans LLP & FOIL

30/05/17. The recent decision in Marshall v MIB (1) Pickard (2) Generali (3) 2017 provides a useful example of how the rules governing which laws apply in cross border personal injury cases can potentially give rise to unintended consequences.

The facts of the case were a little convoluted. An uninsured Peugeot car driver (B) had hit British Nationals (M and P) as they were standing behind a Ford Fiesta car and trailer whilst the trailer was being attended to by a recovery truck on the side of the motorway. P had been driving the Fiesta and M was his passenger. After hitting M and P, the Peugeot collided with the trailer, shunting it into the Fiesta which, in turn, was shunted into the recovery truck. P was thrown forward by the impact with the Peugeot and landed clear of the vehicles. He suffered serious injuries. M was thrown off the front of the Peugeot and the trailer fell on his leg. He died at the scene. The Fiesta was registered in the UK and insured by RSA; the recovery truck was registered in France and insured by Generali.

From a UK perspective at least most people would perhaps think there would be no liability attaching to the recovery truck driver. In fact the recovery truck driver and his insurers faced the very real prospect of being held wholly responsible for the claims of both M and P. However, because of the cross border nature of the case the Court first had to determine which laws would apply to the case...

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