European Treaty Series - No. 29
European Convention on Compulsory Insurance against Civil Liability in respect of Motor Vehicles
The governments signatory hereto, being members of the Council of Europe,
Considering that the aim of the Council of Europe is to achieve greater unity among its members for the purpose, among others, of facilitating their economic and social progress by the conclusion of agreements and common action in economic, social, cultural, scientific, legal and administrative matters;
Considering it necessary to safeguard the rights of victims of motor accidents in their territories by the introduction of a system of compulsory insurance;
Considering that it would be difficult to secure the complete unification of their laws in this matter and that it would suffice if such basic rules as are considered essential were standardised in the member countries of the Council of Europe, each country remaining free to apply in its territory provisions affording greater protection to injured parties;
Considering it necessary, moreover, to promote the establishment and operation of international insurance bureaux and guarantee funds, or to take equivalent measures,
Have agreed as follows:
1Each Contracting Party undertakes to ensure that, within six months of the date of entry into force of this Convention in respect of that Party, the rights of persons suffering damage caused by motor vehicles in its territory shall be protected through the introduction of a system of compulsory insurance complying with the provisions annexed to this Convention (Annex I).
2Each Contracting Party shall, however, retain the option of adopting provisions affording greater protection to injured parties.
3Each of the Contracting Parties shall communicate to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe the official texts of the legislation and principal regulations establishing its system of compulsory motor insurance. The Secretary General shall transmit these texts to the other Parties and to the other members of the Council of Europe.
Each Contracting Party shall retain the option:
1to exempt from compulsory insurance certain motor vehicles, the use of which it considers to present little if any danger;
2to exempt from compulsory insurance motor vehicles owned by its public authorities or those of other countries or by inter-governmental organisations;
3to determine the minimum amounts of insurance cover necessary; in this case, the application of the annexed provisions may be limited to these amounts.
1Any Contracting Party may, when signing this Convention or on depositing its instrument of ratification or accession, declare that it avails itself of one or more of the reservations provided for in Annex II to the Convention.
2Any Contracting Party may wholly or partly withdraw a reservation it has made in accordance with the foregoing paragraph by means of a notification addressed to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe which shall become effective as from the date of its receipt. The Secretary General shall communicate the notification to the other Parties and to the other members of the Council of Europe.
1Options exercised and reservations made by a Contracting Party in pursuance of Articles 2 and 3 of this Convention shall be valid only in its territory and shall not prejudice the full application of the compulsory insurance law of other Parties in whose territory the vehicle is used.
2Each Contracting Party shall inform the Secretary General of the Council of Europe of the content of its legal provisions relating to the options and reservations referred to in Articles 2 and 3 of this Convention. The said Party shall keep the Secretary General informed of any changes made therein at a later date. The Secretary General shall transmit all such information to the other Parties and to the other members of the Council of Europe.
When compensation for injury caused by a motor vehicle involves both compulsory motor insurance and social security schemes, the rights of the injured party and the arrangements to be made between the two systems shall be determined under municipal law.
1Should the option of exclusion from normal insurance referred to in paragraph 2 of Article 4 of the annexed provisions be provided for in its municipal law, each Contracting Party undertakes to make the holding in its territory of motor races or competitions, whether for speed, reliability or skill, subject to official authorisation. Such authorisation shall be granted only if the civil liability of the organisers and persons referred to in Article 3 of the annexed provisions is covered by special insurance complying with those provisions.
2Compensation for damage suffered by the occupants of vehicles taking part in races or competitions such as are referred to in the foregoing paragraph may, however, be excluded.
1Motor vehicles normally stationed outside the territory of a Contracting State shall be exempt in that territory from the application of Article 2 of the annexed provisions if they are provided with a certificate issued by the government of another Contracting State stating that the vehicle belongs to that State, or, in the case of a Federal State, to the Federal State or one of its constituent members; in the latter case, the certificate shall be issued by the Federal Government.
2The certificate shall indicate the authority or body responsible for paying compensation in accordance with the law of the country visited and which may be sued in the courts competent in such matters under the law. The State or constituent member to which the vehicle belongs shall guarantee such payment.
The Contracting Parties shall promote the establishment and operation of Bureaux for the issue of international insurance certificates and for meeting claims for damages in the circumstances specified in paragraph 2 of Article 2 of the annexed provisions.
1Each of the Contracting Parties undertakes either to establish a guarantee fund or to make other equivalent arrangements in order to compensate injured parties for damage caused in such circumstances that a civil liability is incurred, where the obligation to be insured has not been complied with or the person liable has not been identified, or the case is one excepted from insurance in accordance with the first sentence of paragraph 1 of Article 3 of the annexed provisions. The conditions for granting compensation and the extent of such right shall be determined by the Contracting Party concerned.
2Nationals of any Contracting Party shall be entitled to bring the claim provided for in the foregoing paragraph in any other Contracting State on equal terms with the nationals of that State.
1The Contracting Parties undertake to determine in their municipal law the persons who shall be responsible for having the motor vehicle insured and to take all appropriate measures, accompanied where necessary by penal or administrative sanctions, to enforce the obligations resulting from the annexed provisions.
2With a view to the application of the annexed provisions, the Contracting Parties undertake to make appropriate provisions in their municipal law relating to the approval, or the expiry or withdrawal of the approval, of insurers and, if necessary, of the Guarantee Fund and the Bureau, and also relating to control of their operations.
1Each Contracting Party shall determine, as may be necessary, the authority or person to whom the notification mentioned in Article 9 of the annexed provisions is to be made.
2Each Contracting Party shall determine what effect the insurance contract shall have in the case of a change of ownership of the insured vehicle.
Except in case of emergency, a Contracting Party may not denounce this Convention within less than two years from the date on which the Convention entered into force in respect of that Party. Denunciation shall be effected by written notification to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, who shall inform the other Contracting Parties thereof; it shall take effect three months after the date on which the Secretary General received such notification.
1If, after the entry into force of the Convention in respect of a Contracting Party, that Party deems it necessary to make a reservation, either not provided for in Annex II to this Convention or, if provided for in that annex, a reservation which it has not made previously or has withdrawn, it shall inform the Secretary General of the Council of Europe of its precise proposal, of which the Secretary General shall then notify the other Contracting Parties.
2If, within the six months following the notification by the Secretary General, the Contracting Parties signify in writing their agreement to the proposal, the Contracting Party which has made the proposal may amend its legislation accordingly. The Secretary General shall bring the notifications made to him under this paragraph to the knowledge of the Contracting Parties.
This Convention shall not apply to overseas territories of the Contracting Parties.
1This Convention shall be open to the signature of the members of the Council of Europe. It shall be ratified. Instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
2This Convention shall come into force 90 days after the date of deposit of the fourth instrument of ratification.
3In respect of any signatory ratifying subsequently, the Convention shall come into force 90 days after the date of deposit of its instrument of ratification.
4The Secretary General shall notify all the members of the Council and acceding States of the names of the signatories, of the entry into force of the Convention, the names of the Contracting Parties who have ratified it and the subsequent deposit of any instrument of ratification or accession.
After this Convention has come into force the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe may invite any State which is not a member of the Council to accede to it. Any State so invited may accede by depositing its instrument of accession with the Secretary General of the Council, who shall notify all the Contracting Parties and the other members of the Council of Europe of such deposit. The Convention shall come into force in respect of any State acceding thereto 90 days after the date of deposit of its instrument of accession.
In witness whereof, the undersigned, being duly authorised thereto, have signed this convention.
Done at Strasbourg, this 20th day of April 1959, in the English and French languages, both texts being equally authoritative, in a single copy which shall remain in the archives of the Council of Europe and of which the Secretary General shall send certified copies to each of the signatories.
Protocol of signature
When signing the European Convention on Compulsory Insurance against Civil Liability in respect of Motor Vehicles, the signatory governments recognise that the term "motor vehicles" contained in the first paragraph of Article 1 of the provisions annexed to the said Convention shall be understood to include all mechanically-propelled vehicles which are intended to be driven on the ground other than vehicles running on rails, even if they are connected to electric conductors, and also cycles fitted with an auxiliary engine.