Monday, 13 February 2012

Vant v Cripps

This is one of the more celebrated cases on plying for hire.

Vant v Cripps
(1963) 62 LGR 88

Court: DC
Judgment Date: circa 1963

Considered Cogley v Sherwood [1959] 2 QB 311, [1959] 2 All ER 313, [1959] 2 WLR 781, 123 JP 377, 103 Sol Jo 433 DC circa 1959


On November 21, 1962, a Vauxhall Victor motor car was stationary and unattended outside the dwelling house of defendants, a husband and wife. The dwelling house was situated on a main load leading out of and about three miles from the centre of Leeds, in a residential area. Fixed to the rear of the vehicle was a sign, approximately eight inches by six inches, painted in cream with printed red lettering, about two inches high, reading ‘Barry’s Taxis’ and, below that, ‘Moortown’ and a telephone number. On a corner of the house, visible to anyone passing by in the road or approaching the house from it, was an electric light fitting contained in a ‘rectangular (glass) globe’ (sic) to one side of which was affixed in dark lettering the word ‘Taxi’ and a telephone number and to the other side of which was affixed the word ‘Taxi’ only.

On November 22, the vehicle was again stationary and unattended in the driveway at the side of the house, with its rear towards the road and the sign again clearly visible from the road or to anyone approaching the house from the road. On both occasions the husband was in charge of the vehicle, which was owned by the wife, and he was at all material times in the house. Informations were preferred against the husband charging him with being unlawfully found plying for hire with the vehicle in question, contrary to Town Police Clauses Act 1847 (c 89) s 45, and with using that vehicle without there being in force in respect of its user by him a policy of insurance contrary to section 201 of the 1960 Act.

The wife was charged with permitting the husband to use the vehicle without such a policy of insurance. The policy of insurance held by the wife covered the use of the vehicle ‘for the carriage of passengers or goods in connection with the policy holder’s business but not for use for hire or reward other than private hire’ or ‘for domestic or pleasure purposes’ by either of defendants. Defendants were convicted of the offences charged. On appeal: Held dismissing the appeals, (1) the vehicle was, on the facts, plying for hire, and the husband, in that he was in charge of it, was ‘plying for hire’ with it within section 45 of the 1847 Act.

Per Lord Parker of Waddington CJ: It may be that the true view of section 45 is that the latter part of it should be read as referring to ‘any person found driving, standing or plying for hire with any carriage which is being used as a hackney carriage.’

(2) The vehicle was not at the material time being used in connection with the insured’s business (which was that of private hire proprietress), nor for social, domestic or pleasure purposes, nor, since it was plying for public hire, for private hire; accordingly, it was not covered by a policy of insurance and defendants had been rightly convicted of the charges under the 1960 Act.

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