With Brexit is fast approaching, what with this mean for the claims industry? The leaving date is quickly approaching, thanks to Prime Minister Theresa May invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty on March 29th 2017 — leading to a new plan that the UK will officially step away from the economic and political partnership on March 29th 2019.
An important aspect of Brexit that we must note is that there are various EU Directives and Regulations which currently apply to personal injury claims. Lawyers across the UK utilise these when assisting clients, but such practices may soon be subject to change.
Getting a grip on EU Directives & EU Regulations
The most important issue of Brexit is to understand the regulations which are in place. Before we venture into how the EU and personal injury claims made in the UK are currently linked, it is first wise to understand what we mean by both EU Directives and EU Regulations.
Legal acts which are provided for in the EU Treaty are known as EU Directives. Once in place, all Member States of the EU are obliged to transpose them into national law, and are provided with a set deadline to do so. When it comes to the UK, EU directives have been turned into laws using Statutory Instruments — a process which means the government isn’t required to create a new piece of law and get it passed through parliament every time a new legal act is created.
EU Regulations are the more specific aspects of EU Directives, and are filled with the minimum requirements and fundamental principles that EU Member States must abide to once the legal acts are in place.
How do the EU Directives & EU Regulations apply to personal injury claims?
The EU Directives & EU regulations apply to personal injury claims in many ways, though there are three main examples of how the EU Directives and EU Regulations currently apply to personal injury claims which are made across the UK…
The 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act
The European Framework Directive on Safety and Health at Work lay the groundwork for the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act. This is because this specific EU Directive has long guaranteed the minimum safety and health requirements which businesses across Europe must have in place to protect both workers and visitors on a site or workplace.
The Consumer Protection Act 1987
The Consumer Protection Act 1987, as well as its associated regulations, covers product safety and so provides consumers with protection whenever they buy goods and services in the UK. However, this act was passed as a result of an EU Directive from 1985, which saw strict liability being put against any producers of defective products.
How will Brexit change the industry?
An important part to stress when it comes to Brexit is that the UK government must first pass new laws in order to revoke any old European laws which have helped to form part of the nation’s own law. Until any such motion is made, nothing will change as old European laws will not instantly cease to be relevant just because the UK is no longer a part of the EU.
In regards to the Ehic scheme, there has already been a deal in principle agreed by negotiators in Brussels at the end of August 2017, which involved Brexit Secretary David Davis. The agreement outlines that British pensioners who have retired in another EU Member State and then travels to other Member States for holidays can still use their Ehic card whenever they require medical attention. This move is surely a positive sign for the future of the Ehic scheme.
Yet, it remains to be seen what results further discussions will bring when it comes to how Brits make personal injury claims post-Brexit, and how lawyers will be able to assist their clients in regards to these claims.