Taxi drivers in London have moved a step closer to legally action against Judge Emma Arbuthnot’s decision to relicense ride-hailing firm Uber earlier this year.
The group working under the name United Taxi Action Group have been granted permission by the High Court to Judicially Review the “bias” decision taken by Judge Emma Arbuthnot to grant Uber a 15-month operators licence.
According to The Times High Court judge Mr Justice Walker said Uber had “gravely misled the regulator and the court”.
The action spearheaded by taxi driver representatives United Cabbies Group has instructed senior commercial QC to provide a legal opinion on taking legal action against Transport for London, Westminster Magistrates Court and Uber along with support from from other keys members of the London taxi industry.
The UCG say it is now time for drivers to support action for the right earned by completing the Knowledge of London, abiding by strict regulations enforced by TfL and being forced to drive a prescribed purpose-built vehicle which is both Wheelchair Accessible and subject to very rigorous Conditions of Fitness.
“This is an unprecedented legal challenge against Uber, Transport for London and Westminster Magistrates Court. It will shock many how Uber operate and are allowed to operate under the watchful blindness of the regulatory body there to protect” says the legal team working on the action Robert Griffiths QC and Barrister Stuart Jessop of 6 Pump Court, Temple.
In a statement made the UCG in September they added: “It has long been known by members of the trade that Uber operates a model which is identical to hailing and therefore infringes London taxi drivers’ exclusive right to ply for hire. This action will seek to address that injustice.
“In this action we will forcefully pursue the argument that TfL knew or ought to have known that Uber is not and has never been a fit and proper person to hold an Operators’ Licence.
“One of the many reasons why it will be argued that Uber is not a fit and proper person includes issues relating to its corporate structure and fiscal operations.
“This is a concerted, comprehensive and unprecedented action against key parties including the regulatory body (TfL) and will seek to bring each and all parties to account for their part in the damage caused to our 360-year-old trade.
“Other similar actions are exclusively seeking damages, but this action will seek more than damages for any previous loss. It will seek to protect our exclusive right to ply for hire and ensure that PHV drivers and London Taxi drivers compete fairly.
“It will seek to protect the trade from current and further threats to its exclusive right to ply for hire and ensure that the distinct Two-Tier System is restored and not eroded.”
“We will seek to protect and preserve your exclusive right to ply for hire from current and future threats, the two-tier system has to be restored” added Darren Rogers from Chiltern Law
Although the initial instructions have been given by UCG, this is not a singularly UCG action. The United Trade Action Group (UTAG) is made up from a “wider group of taxi supporters”.
The UTAG will rely on donations made via a crowdfunder to proceed.