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Published: Wed, 07 Mar 2018

Howe v Motor Insurers’ Bureau
[2017] EWCA Civ 932



The facts of this case concern the English claimant (Mr Howe) who was involved in a motor accident while driving in France. Mr Howe collided with a rogue wheel, having detached itself from a lorry in front of him through no fault of his own. Neither the vehicle or the driver could be successfully traced and, after a lengthy delay, Mr Howe brought a claim against the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB) under the fourth Motor Insurance Directive: 2000/26/EEC of 16/05/2000 and the subsequent Motor Vehicles Regulations 2003.


The claim was dismissed due to being time-barred under French statute as well as the court being bound by the decision in Moreno v MIB [2016] UKSC 52. This essentially meant that MIB’s liability to compensate the claimant under the 2003 Regulations was not dependent upon the establishing that the likened fund in France was liable. As such, the only issue left under this instance were the costs of the unsuccessful claim and appeal, and whether the claimant would have protection under Qualified One-Way Costs Shifting (QOCS).


It was originally held by Stewart J in his second judgment [2016] EWHC 884 (QB) that under CPR rule 44.13(1) that, to have protection under QOCS a claim must be “a claim for damages… for personal injuries” [12] and that “orders for costs made against the claimant may be enforced in the usual way”. [28]

On consideration by Lewison LJ, it was held that protection under QOCS would in fact apply to the claimant here. This was because the “rule [CPR Part 44.16(2)] is framed that the first instance judge must both (a) exercise a discretion and (b) conduct an evaluation of what is just on the facts of any particular case”[41] and that the trial judge did not and decided wrongly in favour of MIB. As such the appeal was allowed.

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