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EMERGENCY TALKS: Industry to discuss Uber court case that could drastically impact ALL operators

Updated: May 18, 2022



Private hire operators from across England are set to hold an ‘URGENT’ private hire industry webinar to discuss the implications of an Uber and Sefton Council court case that could drastically impact the sector.


The emergency webinar will take place on Thursday 19 May and discuss the upcoming court case which focuses on operators paying VAT.

If ride-hailing firm Uber are successful, the changes could force contractual arrangements with drivers and make all operators the principal for VAT on fares. This is likely to force the price of journeys up.


Uber have long urged thousands of other private hire operators to follow their lead by making changes to their business models. Earlier this year Uber made big changes which included paying VAT on all UK journeys following a similar court case in London.


Transport for London (TfL), the UK’s biggest licensing authority, warned ALL Private Hire (PH) Operators to take ‘IMMEDIATE ACTION’ to make changes to their terms and conditions and ensure compliance.

If Uber win their court case with Sefton Council, ALL licensing authorities outside of London could then be forced to follow suit.


Azmat Sherwani, Dotted CEO, said via LinkedIn: “As many of you know, there is a pending court case that could potentially change the face of the industry as we know it!

“The changes could affect contractual arrangements, push up fares, make you the principal for VAT on drivers' fares, increase administrative burdens, necessitate changes to booking and accounting software, and generally disrupt your business.


“A large number of fleets up and down the country are coming together to legally challenge this case.”


Taking part in the webinar includes spokespeople from operators Veezu, Noda Taxis, Alpha Taxis, Star Cars and Blueline Taxis.

What exactly is the latest Uber court case about?


Essentially Uber are seeking High Court Declaration on model lawfulness in the ‘provinces’ after the London court case result.

Sefton Council sent out a notice to the attention of interested parties that describes the legal action below:


High Court Declaration Proceedings concerning the obligations of private hire vehicle operators licensed under Part II of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976


In Uber London Limited v. Transport for London and others [2021] EWHC 3290 (Admin) the Divisional Court made the following declaration:

In order to operate lawfully under the Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998 a licensed operator who accepts a booking from a passenger is required to enter as principal into a contractual obligation with the passenger to provide the journey which is the subject of the booking.


Uber Britannia Limited (“UBL”) is licensed by the Council as a private hire vehicle (“PHV”) operator under the provisions of Part II of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, which the Council has adopted to apply in its area.


UBL has commenced proceedings against the Council under Part 8 of the Civil Procedure Rules seeking the following declaration from the High Court:


In order to operate lawfully under Part II Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, a licensed operator who accepts a booking from a passenger is required to enter as principal into a contractual obligation with the passenger to provide the journey which is the subject of the booking.


The purpose of this notice is to draw these proceedings to the attention of interested parties, including licensed PHV operators and licensed drivers, and anyone who wishes to join into these proceedings.

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