What is Group Action?
Group action is a term used in the UK for when multiple claimants sharing grievances with common characteristics join together to seek a remedy against the same or multiple defendants. In other jurisdictions, this is often called a class action. In England and Wales, there are various procedural mechanisms available to bring group actions which are becoming far more regularly used. Group litigation can redress the balance between individuals and large, well-funded defendants as by joining together individuals can benefit from collective strength, expertise and the sharing of costs and risks, thereby facilitating access to justice.
What is the justification for taking Group Action against Uber?
The group action will bring a claim in the High Court by licensed taxi drivers in London against Uber for loss of income on the basis that Uber has operated unlawfully under the relevant statutory framework between mid 2012 until at least the end of 2017, with the intention of causing loss to the licensed taxi trade. We believe Uber’s failure to adhere to the statutory framework to the detriment of licensed taxi drivers who operate lawfully is fundamentally unfair and Uber should be held responsible for its actions.
What is the legal process for embarking on the group action and what are the timescales for this?
We are still in the early stages of embarking on the claim. The first step is to sign up as many eligible drivers as possible to participate in the claim over the next few months. We will be able to advise further on timescales once this process has concluded.
What is the value of the claim?
We believe that it is possible to demonstrate a significant overall loss of income to licensed taxi drivers collectively following Uber’s entry into the London market. The period we are looking at is June/July 2012 to at least end of December 2017. The total value of the claim will depend on the number of licensed taxi drivers who participate.
We are working with economists and expect that damages could be in excess of £500 million. As we collect data from participants, we shall we able to more accurately and robustly estimate the loss attributable to Uber’s alleged unlawful operation.
Who is Mishcon de Reya? What is its interest in taking forward group action against Uber?
Mishcon de Reya is a law firm based in London, with significant experience in group litigation. It is taking forward the group action against Uber. In the past few years it has acted for claimant groups in cases involving RBS, Royal Mail and Google.
Who is Harbour Litigation Funding? What is its interest in taking forward group action against Uber?
Harbour is a leading litigation funding firm. Harbour will be funding the group action, subject to a minimum number of drivers signing up, and will pay all of the legal costs in return for a share of any damages received. If the group action is unsuccessful, you will not have to repay Harbour any money.
Who is Newington Communications? What is its interest in taking forward group action against Uber?
Newington Communications is a corporate and public affairs agency and is supporting Mishcon de Reya in its communications around the group action, to help get as many drivers involved as possible.
Doesn’t Newington Communications work for the LTDA? Is this an LTDA campaign?
Newington Communications works with a number of players in the taxi sector, including the LTDA and sponsors of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Taxis. On this group action, Newington is working on behalf of Mishcon de Reya and is focused on supporting a successful group action through communications. The group action is open to all taxi drivers licensed by TfL to operate in London, not just LTDA members. Mishcon de Reya, supported by Harbour and Newington, are working to engage all of the relevant taxi associations and representative bodies to secure support for this group action and to help reach as many drivers as possible.