The claimant went to park his car in the defendants' automatic car park. A notice at the entrance to the car park gave details of the charges and stated that all cars were 'parked at owner's risk'. When a car was driven up to it, a machine dispensed a ticket. The claimant took the ticket, which gave the car's time of arrival and stated in small print that it was 'issued subject to conditions displayed on the premises'. Inside the car park, there was a notice stating, inter alia, that the defendants would not be liable for any injury to customers that occurred when their cars were on the premises. The claimant was injured in the car park and, in a negligence action, the defendants relied on the exemption in the ticket.

Held: The ticket came too late, since the contract was concluded when the motorist drove up to the machine. The exemption in the ticket was the only one wide enough to exempt the defendants from liability for personal injury, but it could not be relied upon.

LORD DENNING MR: [T]‌he company seek by this condition to exempt themselves from liability, not only for damage to the car, but also for injury to the customer howsoever caused. The condition talks about insurance. It is well known that the customer is usually insured against damage to the car. But he is not insured against damage to himself. If the condition is incorporated into the contract of parking, it means that Mr Thornton will be unable to recover any damages for his personal injuries which were caused by the negligence of the company. (p. 236)

We have been referred to the ticket cases of former times from Parker v South Eastern Railway Co. (1877) 2 CPD 416 to McCutcheon v David MacBrayne Ltd [1964] 1 WLR 125. They were concerned with railways, steamships and cloakrooms where booking clerks issued tickets to


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