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. ‘
Otherwise: Clarke v General Accident Fire and Life Assurance Corporation Plc
Clark and Others v. Kato, Smith and General Accident Fire and Life Assurance Corporation Plc
Lord Browne-Wilkinson, Lord Goff of Chieveley, Lord Slynn of Hadley, Lord Steyn, Lord Clyde
Times 23-Oct-1998, Gazette 25-Nov-1998, Gazette 11-Nov-1998,  UKHL 36,  4 All ER 417,  1 WLR 1647
House of Lords, Bailii
Road Traffic Act 1988 145(3)(a)
England and Wales
Appeal from – Cutter v Eagle Star Insurance Company Limited CA 22-Nov-1996
The concept of a ‘Road’ under the Act includes areas of a public car park marked out for the use of vehicles. . .
Cited – Harrison v Hill 1932
Mr Harrison was convicted by the Sheriff-substitute of an offence under section 7(4) of the 1930 Act on the ground that, while disqualified from holding a driving licence, he had driven a vehicle on a specific road. The Sheriff-substitute stated a . .
Cited – Griffin v Squires 1958
To count as a road in road traffic law, a stretch of land must at least be a road. A car park was held not to be a road. . .
Cited – Bugge v Taylor 1941
A branch of a road which leads into and continues out of the place in question, such as in this case, a forecourt may qualify as a road. . .
Cited – Oxford v Austin 1981
The court said that a road was ‘a definable way between two points over which vehicles could pass.’ . .
Cited – Marleasing SA v La Comercial Internacional de Alimentacion SA ECJ 13-Nov-1990
Sympathetic construction of national legislation
LMA OVIEDO sought a declaration that the contracts setting up Commercial International were void (a nullity) since they had been drawn up in order to defraud creditors. Commercial International relied on an EC . .
Cited – Lonsdale v Howard and Hallam Ltd CA 8-Feb-2006
The claimant sought damages after his agency with the defendants was terminated. The central issue was whether compensation was to be calculated at two years commission as derived from French practice or otherwise.
Held: ‘there is no clear . .
Cited – Brewer v Director of Public Prosecutions QBD 11-Feb-2004
The defendant was a disqualified driver. He was seen to be driving slowly across a railway station car park. He was found to have excess alcohol in his blood.
Held: Allowing his appeal against conviction. The magistrates had found that the car . .
Cited – Bowen and Others v Isle of Wight Council ChD 3-Dec-2021
What makes a road a Road?
The Court was asked whether a Road was a ‘road’ for the purposes of the 1984 Act’
Held: It has often been said that the public access mentioned in the definition of ‘road’ must be both actual access and legal or lawful access. However, simple . .
Cited – R and S Pilling (T/A Phoenix Engineering) v UK Insurance Ltd SC 27-Mar-2019
The driver’s car failed its MOT., He took it to private premises to repair. In those repairs, inflammable materials ignited and the fire spread those premises and adjoining third party premises. The premise’ insurers paid the owners of both and . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 23 January 2022; Ref: scu.79206