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:
- Each 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).
- Each Contracting Party shall, however, retain the option of adopting provisions
affording greater protection to injured parties.
- Each 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
Each Contracting Party shall retain the option:
- to exempt from compulsory insurance certain motor vehicles, the use of which it
considers to present little if any danger;
- to exempt from compulsory insurance motor vehicles owned by its public authorities or
those of other countries or by inter-governmental organisations;
- to determine the minimum amounts of insurance cover necessary; in this case, the
application of the annexed provisions may be limited to these amounts.
- Any 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.
- Any 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.
- Options 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.
- Each 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
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.
- Should 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.
- Compensation 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.
- Motor 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.
- The 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.
- Each 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.
- Nationals 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.
- The 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.
- With 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.
- Each 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.
- Each 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.
- If, 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
- If, 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.
- This 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.
- This Convention shall come into force 90 days after the date of deposit of the fourth
instrument of ratification.
- In respect of any signatory ratifying subsequently, the Convention shall come into force
90 days after the date of deposit of its instrument of ratification.
- The 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
In witness whereof, the undersigned, being duly authorised thereto, have signed this
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.
Provisions annexed to the Convention
For the purpose of this law:
The term "motor vehicles" shall mean: mechanically-propelled vehicles intended
to be driven on the ground other than vehicles running on rails, and shall include
trailers when coupled, and insofar as the government so decides, uncoupled trailers which
are constructed or adapted to be towed by a motor vehicle and to carry persons or goods;
The term "assured" shall mean: persons whose liability is covered in accordance
with this law;
The term "injured parties" shall mean: persons entitled to compensation for
damage caused by a motor vehicle;
The term "insurer" shall mean: the insurance undertaking approved by the
government in accordance with paragraph 1 of Article 2, and, in the case of paragraph 2 of
Article 2, the Bureau responsible for the settlement of claims for damage caused in the
national territory by vehicles normally stationed outside that territory.
- No motor vehicle may be driven on the public highway, in grounds open to the public or
in private grounds to which certain persons have right of access, unless the civil
liability to which it may give rise is covered by insurance in accordance with the
provisions of this law.
The insurance must be effected with an insurer approved by the government for this
- Nevertheless, motor vehicles normally stationed outside the national territory may be
driven in that territory on condition that a Bureau recognised for this purpose by the
government assumes direct responsibility for compensating, in accordance with municipal
law, injured parties for damage caused by such vehicles.
- The insurance must cover the civil liability of the owner and of any driver or person in
charge of the insured vehicle, with the exception of persons who have taken control
thereof either by theft or violence or merely without the consent of the owner or person
in charge. Nevertheless, in the latter case the insurance must cover the civil liability
of the driver if he has been able to take control of the vehicle through the fault of the
owner or person in charge, or if he is a person employed to drive the vehicle.
- The insurance must include damage caused to persons and property in the national
territory, with the exception of damage to the insured vehicle and to property carried by
- The following may be excluded from the benefits of the insurance:
- the driver of the vehicle causing the damage, the policy-holder and all persons whose
civil liability is covered by the policy;
- the spouses of the persons mentioned above;
- members of the families of those persons, provided either that they reside with them or
are dependent on them for their maintenance, or that they are carried in the vehicle which
caused the damage.
- Damage caused by the vehicle during participation in authorised motor races or
competitions, whether for speed, reliability or skill may be excluded from the normal
Should it be stipulated in the policy that the assured shall himself make some
contribution towards compensation for the damage, the insurer shall nevertheless remain
liable to the injured party for payment of the contribution which the contract lays down
as being due by the assured.
- The injured party has a direct claim against the insurer.
- Should there be more than one injured party, and the total compensation due exceed the
sum insured, the rightful claims of the injured parties against the insurer shall be
reduced in proportion to that sum. Nevertheless, an insurer who, through ignorance of the
existence of other claims, has in good faith paid an injured party more than that party's
proper share, shall be accountable to the other injured parties only for the remainder of
the sum insured.
- The assured must report to the insurer all accidents of which they have knowledge. The
policy-holder must supply the insurer with any information or documents stipulated in the
policy. Assured persons other than the policy-holder must supply any information or
documents required by the insurer, at the latter's request.
- The insurer may make the assured a party to an action brought against him by the injured
- Any action by the injured party against the insurer based on the former's direct claim
against him shall be barred after two years have elapsed since the time of the accident.
- A written request shall suspend the period of limitation in respect of the insurer until
such time as he states in writing that he has broken off negotiations. The period of
limitation shall not be suspended by subsequent requests.
- The insurer may not raise against an injured party the rights which he possesses vis-Ó-vis
the assured, by virtue of the contract or of the provisions of the law relating to it,
to withhold or reduce its benefits.
- The invalidity or termination of the insurance contract, its suspension or that of the
guarantee thereunder may be raised by the insurer against the injured party only in
respect of accidents occurring after 16 days have elapsed since the insurer gave notice of
the said invalidity, termination or suspension. In the case of consecutive insurances this
provision shall apply only to the last insurer.
- However, the provisions of the preceding paragraphs shall not be applicable insofar as
the damage is effectively covered by another insurance.
- The provisions of paragraphs 1 and 2 of the present article shall in no wise prejudice
the insurer's right to take action against the policy-holder or an assured person other
than the policy-holder.
No departure by way of agreement between individuals may be made from those provisions
of this law which are designed to protect injured parties, unless the right to do so
follows from those provisions.