Cutter v. Eagle Star Insurance Company [1996]

Cutter v Eagle Star held that a car park was not a road for the purposes of Road Traffic Legislation. 

Save exceptionally, a car park is not a road for the purposes of road traffic legislation on obligatory insurance. It is an unjustified strain on the language. A distinction made between the road ways and the parking bays was artificial and unhelpful. Whether any particular area was a road is a question of fact in each case.

In the generality of the matter it seems to me that in the ordinary use of language a car park does not so qualify. In character and more especially in function they are distinct. It is of course possible to park on a road, but that does not mean that the road is a car park. Correspondingly one can drive from one point to another over a car park, but that does not mean that the route which has been taken is a road. It is here that the distinction in function between road and car park is of importance. The proper function of a road is to enable movement along it to a destination. Incidentally a vehicle on it may be stationary. One can use a road for parking.

Where can this be used?

Parking companies are increasingly trying to suggest that anyone stopping on a road, for example an Airport Road, is parking. Clearly this is not the case. Cars stop for a number of reasons including being held up in traffic. 

In addition, signs in the vicinity tend to be of a forbidding nature where the signs say "No ...." If something is forbidden there is no offer and subsequently no contract exists. This was covered in the County Court case Parking Control Management v Christopher Bull (also known as the High Wycombe Three

Use the Cutter case and the High Wycombe case where the signs are "forbidding" - usually where the parking charge is for stopping.

Download the case below



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