The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) has written to Sadiq Khan asking him to cap the potential cost liabilities arising from the union's legal challenge of his introduction of a congestion charge for minicabs. On 1 March, the IWGB sent Mayor of London Sadiq Khan a pre-action letter asking him to revoke his decision to implement the congestion charge on minicabs from April this year. The Mayor has until the end of this week to give a response before the IWGB launches its judicial review of the policy.
Since the total cost of a judicial review can exceed £100,000, the IWGB is asking the Mayor to agree to cap costs of this litigation at £16,495, the amount the union has so far raised through crowdfunding for this case. In its letter, the IWGB has pointed out that in his previous role as Shadow Justice Secretary, Sadiq Khan had argued that community groups should not be priced out of challenging government policy through judicial reviews. In 2015 Khan was quoted in the Guardian as saying: “If you are someone who wants to challenge power, you are now scared to do so. You are worried about your costs as a community group in challenging a public authority decision. That’s not the sort of country I want to live in.” The IWGB has also pointed out that when it challenged Deliveroo in the courts, the company had agreed to cost capping, while Uber agreed to zero costs. The IWGB also expressed concern over TFL's response to the union's request that the introduction of the congestion charge be suspended until a judge can rule on its lawfulness. In a letter dated 6 March, TFL had asked the IWGB if it would be able to indemnify the authority for the revenue it would lose if the introduction of the congestion charge was put on hold. In his letter to Sadiq Khan, IWGB General Secretary Jason Moyer-Lee said: “I appreciate that you intend to defend the allegation that your decision on the congestion charge is discriminatory, but I trust you will agree with me that the proposed claim is not spurious, is clearly arguable in law, and raises a matter of considerable public importance. The only way to determine whether your decision is unlawful is for this claim to proceed. If costs are not capped in this litigation it will serve, in effect, as an absolute bar on our ability to proceed with the claim.”