Director of Public Prosecutins v Vivier: QBD 1991

There had been a traffic accident in a large privately owned caravan park.
Held: Premises will be private where they are entered for reasons beneficial to the occupier. Referring to Harrison v Hill: ‘What Lord Sands, and indeed Lord Clyde, say in Harrison v Hill can really be summarised thus. A road is one to which the public have access if (a) it is in fact used by members of the public and (b) such use is expressly or implicitly allowed — or, putting it the other way round, not achieved by overcoming physical obstruction or defying express or implied prohibition.
Factor (b) presents no problem. But factor (a) does. In particular, as it seems to us, (a) essentially begs rather than answers the other crucial question whether those who use the road are members of the public. Take our case. We have not the least hesitation in accepting that the only material use of this caravan park was by those who had complied with the various site requirements and been properly admitted, in short those who had been expressly or implicitly allowed into the caravan park, either as caravaners or campers or as their bona fide guests. We think it right to ignore both the few trespassers who escaped the security controls and also the users of the bridleway (which in any event could not affect the character of the park as a whole). And, indeed we do not understand Mr Glen for the prosecutor to contend otherwise.
What that leaves outstanding, however, is the critical question: are the caravaners, campers and guests to be regarded, within the park, still as members of the general public, or are they instead, as the justices found, at that stage a special class of members of the public?
Upon that question, Harrison v Hill helps but little: there is simply Lord Clyde’s reference to ‘the special class of members of the public who have occasion for business or social purposes’ to use the farm road.’ and
‘How then, in some particular road or place is used by an identifiable category of people, should justices decide whether that category is ‘special’ or ‘restricted’ or ‘particular’ such as to distinguish it from the public at large? What, in short, is the touchstone by which to recognise a special class of people from members of the general public?
Some light is thrown upon the problem by the passage already cited from Lord MacDermott CJ’s judgment in Montgomery v Loney [1959] NI 171 at 177: one asks whether there is about those who obtain permission to enter ‘some reason personal to them for their admittance’. If people come to a private house as guests, postmen or meter readers, they come for reasons personal to themselves, to serve the purposes of the occupier.
But what of the rather different type of case such as the present where those seeking entry are doing so for their own (rather than the occupier’s) purposes and yet are screened in the sense of having to satisfy certain conditions for admission. Does the screening process operate to endow those passing through with some special characteristic whereby they lose their identity as members of the general public and become instead a special class?
Our approach would be as follows. By the same token as one asks in the earlier type of case whether permission is being granted for a reason personal to the user, in these screening cases one must ask: do those admitted pass through the screening process for a reason, or on account of characteristic personal to themselves? Or are they in truth merely members of the public who are being admitted as such and processed simply so as to make them subject to payment and whatever other conditions the landowner chooses to impose?

Simon Brown J, Mann LJ
[1991] 4 All ER 18, [1991] RTR 205
England and Wales
CitedMontgomery v Loney CANI 1959
When asking whether a roadway is a public road, one asks whether there is about those who obtain permission to enter ‘some reason personal to them for their admittance’, and ‘Generally, the decision will be a matter of fact and degree, but whether . .
CitedPanama (Piccadilly) Ltd v Newbury 1962
The court was asked whether club membership as a precondition to admission to a strip show would preclude its being held a public entertainment.
Held: It would not: ‘there being no evidence whatsoever of any selective process and indeed a rule . .

Cited by:
ExplainedPlanton v Director of Public Prosecutions QBD 6-Jun-2001
The defendant was found by police sat in the driving seat of a car parked on an isthmus which would be submerged at high tide. The engine was running, and the car lights were on. He failed a breath test, but argued at trial that since the car had . .
CitedMay v Director of Public Prosecutions Admn 15-Apr-2005
Whether the car park where the driving took place was a ‘public place’ within the meaning of section 3.
Held: The appeal failed.
Laws LJ set out the following propositions as accurately summarising the relevant legal principles:
a. . .
CitedBarrett v Director of Public Prosecutions Admn 10-Feb-2009
The defendant appealed against his conviction for driving whilst disqualified. He had driven on a roadway within a caravan park. A public footpath (a highway) went through the park. There were gates at the entrance but these were kept open. The . .
CitedRichardson v Director of Public Prosecutions Admn 28-Feb-2019
Private Car park was not a public plae.
The defendant appealed from his conviction for being drunk in charge of a vehicle in a public place. The place was marked private but allowed for paring for designated businesses.
Held: The appeal succeeded. The phrase public phrase had to be . .
CitedBowen 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 . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Road Traffic

Updated: 10 December 2021; Ref: scu.231474