MOTOR INSURANCE: COURT RULES IN FINNISH DRINK-DRIVING CASE.

 
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Back in 1997, Tanja Candolin, the mother of Katja Candolin, was travelling together with Messrs Viljaniemi and Paananen in Mr Paananen's car, which was driven by Mr Ruokoranta. An accident took place which killed Mrs Candolin and left the other passengers seriously injured. The driver and all the other passengers were drunk. Mr Ruokoranta received a prison sentence and was ordered to pay compensation to Katja Candolin, Mr Viljaniemi and Mr Paananen. Yet the courts hearing the dispute decided that none of them had the right under the Finnish law on motor vehicle insurance to compensation from the insurance company, as the passengers should have noticed that the driver was drunk. So the Finnish Supreme Court turned to the European Court.

The ECJ noted that the EU Directives on civil liability insurance (72/166/EEC) do not aim to harmonise EU member states' rules on third-party liability and that they are free to determine these rules as they apply to road accidents. Member states must, however, exercise their powers in compliance with EU law, notably with Directives that aim "to ensure that compulsory motor vehicle insurance allows all passengers who are victims of an accident caused by a motor vehicle to...

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