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Lloyd-Wolper v Moore and Others, Court of Appeal, 18 June 2004

30 June 2004
The issues

Road traffic accident – Section 151 Road Traffic Act 1988 – Driver not possessing valid driving licence – Whether father of driver had “caused or permitted the use of the vehicle

The facts

On 26 March 1997 Robert Moore had been driving a Toyota when it was in an accident. The other party involved in the accident, Mr Lloyd-Wolper, suffered injury. Robert Moore was driving a Toyota owned by his father Charles Moore. The Toyota was insured with the National Insurance Guarantee Corporation under a Motor Traders policy. Charles Moore was a dealer in second hand cars.

The policy did not cover Robert firstly because he did not have a valid driving licence and secondly because there was a 1600cc restriction on the type of car Robert could use under the policy. The capacity of the Toyota was 1760cc. Mr Lloyd-Wolper brought proceedings against Robert and against the National Insurance Guarantee Corporation who had declined cover. The Corporation brought proceedings under Part 20 against both Robert and Charles. On 14 November 2002 Mr Lloyd-Wolper obtained judgment by consent against the Corporation and Robert for £180,000. In the Part 20 proceedings the Corporation obtained judgment against Charles. Robert paid no further part in the proceedings. The Corporation in its Part 20 proceedings against Charles relied on Section 151 (8) namely “Where an insurer becomes liable under this section to pay an amount in respect of a liability of a person who is not insured by a policy or whose liability is not covered by a security, he is entitled to recover the amount from that person or from any person who – a) was insured by the policy ÷÷ and b) caused or permitted the use of the vehicle which gave rise to the liability”.

The question in the appeal was whether Charles had caused or permitted the use of the vehicle within Section 151 (8). Charles appealed in the Part 20 proceedings against him.

The decision

1. The word “permitted” should be given the same meaning as the word “permits” as in Section 143 (1) (b) of the Act. The cases dealing with Section 143 were to the effect that a permission which would only arise, subject to the fulfilment of a condition, was not a permission until that condition was fulfilled. A permission would be given however for the purposes of the Section when there was an honest, although mistaken, belief as to the circumstances of the person to whom the permission was given.

2. In this case the permission to drive was given and Charles did not begin to show that it was subject to the fulfilment of a condition. The fact that he mistakenly believed that Robert held a valid driving licence did not make his permission anything less than a permission. This would be the case even where Robert had induced that belief by means of a misrepresentation.

3. Robert was also uninsured because the insurance policy did not cover him for driving the vehicle with an engine capacity in excess of 1600cc. The fact that Charles may have mistakenly believed that his son was covered to drive the vehicle was no defence to the claim under Section 151 (8). Even if a misrepresentation had provided the defence to the claim on the basis of the absence of a valid licence, Charles would still have been liable for permitting the use of an over capacity vehicle.

Appeal dismissed.

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