Lloyd v Director of Public Prosecutions: QBD 1992

Mr Lloyd had parked his car in a private car park with five large notices boards located at the entrance to and exit of this private car park positioned at eye-level for car drivers. All those notices warned that unauthorised vehicles would be immobilised. Mr Lloyd’s car was found clamped on his return. He contacted the security firm responsible for the clamping who required payment of andpound;25 to release Mr Lloyd’s car. Mr Lloyd refused to pay, but later returned and cut the two padlocks. Mr Lloyd’s defence when prosecuted was that he had a lawful excuse for damaging the padlocks, namely that a trespass was being committed to his car. He also argued that once he had returned to the car park and requested the removal of the clamp, any consent by him to the clamping of his car ceased, and even if the clamping of the car had not constituted a trespass up to that point it was a trespass thereafter. He appealed against his conviction for criminal damage.
Held: The appeal failed. As to criminal law only, the suggestion of lawful excuse was wholly untenable. At the worst he had suffered a civil wrong. The remedy for such wrongs is available in the civil courts. That is what they are there for. Self-help involving the use of force can only be contemplated where there is no reasonable alternative. Here, as in Stear -v- Scott, there was such an alternative. ‘The differences between the facts of that case and those of the present case are quite insufficient to my mind to make it distinguishable.’ The ancient remedies of self-help should be carefully scrutinised in the present day and certainly not extended.


Nolan LJ, Connell J


[1992] 1 All ER 982, [1992] RTR 215


Criminal Damage Act 1971 1(1) 592)(b)


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedVine v London Borough of Waltham Forest CA 5-Apr-2000
The act of wheel clamping a car which was unlawfully parked is a trespass to goods. To avoid an action for damages, the clamper must show that the car parker consented to the clamping. He can do so by showing, in accordance with established . .
CitedRegina v Burns, Paul CACD 27-Apr-2010
The defendant appealed against his conviction for assault. He had picked up a sex worker, driven away, but then changed his mind, and forcibly removed her from the car when she delayed. He now argued that he had the same right at common law to . .
CitedChamberlain v Lindon Admn 18-Mar-1998
The appellant challenged the dismissal of his private prosecution of the defendant in destroying a new garden wall. The magistrates had found a lawful excuse in that the defendant said that the wall had been constructed to obstruct his private right . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Torts – Other, Crime

Updated: 28 April 2022; Ref: scu.180659