Parking definition

It sounds silly, but what actually is the definition of the act of parking? Is it:

  • stopping your car somewhere
  • stopping and letting passengers out
  • stopping and turning the engine off
  • stopping, turning the engine off, and the driver leaving the car

Obviously to a private parking company they would want it to include any and all of those definitions. Their signage usually refers to parking, so a broad definition that allows them to issue and enforce tickets in as many situations as possible would be best for them.

Frequently motorists feel tickets are issued unfairly because they didnt actually believe they were parked. Examples include:

  • Ambulances stopped to attend a call out
  • Motorist stopped to take a phone call
  • Driver dropping off passengers at an airport / train station
  • Driver stopping to read the parking sign
  • Driver stuck waiting to exit a car park

Fortunately their is a legal definition of parking in the book Words and Phrases legally defined. The book contains statutory and judicial definitions of words and phrases. The definitions are taken from Acts of Parliament, Halsbury’s Laws of England, leading textbooks and verbatim judgments from across the Commonwealth. As such its definition of parking should be influential in parking cases.

It’s defintion of parking comes from Lord Greene’s judgment Ashby v Tolhurst (1937). He held:

You take a car park ticket in order to obtain permission to park your car at a particular place, and parking your car means, I should have thought, leaving your car in the place. If you park your car in the street you are liable to get into trouble with the police. On the other hand, you are entitled to park your car in places indicated by the police or the appropriate authorities for the purpose. Parking a car is leaving a car and, I should have thought, nothing else.

Words and Phrases legally defined” Fifth edition (2018)

The key part of that definition is that parking is that you must leave the car. This means most of the scenarios cited above are not parking by defintion.

If your case is not legally defined as parking, this should be used in your defence to your case.