Uber Licence Appeal

The Uber licence appeal decision was handed down on 26 June 2018. Uber had appealed against Transport for London’s refusal to renew its PHV operator’s licence. The Senior District Judge gave Uber a licence for a limited ‘probationary’ period of 15 months, subject to a schedule of new conditions.

Unusal Conditions

The following conditions may be of interest to licensing practitioners:

6. Circumvention of obligations: ULL shall not circumvent any of its obligations as a licensed operator under the 1998 Act or circumvent or interfere with any arrangements made by the licensing authority in relation to these obligations…

9. Evasion of enforcement: ULL shall not use any software, tool or any other mechanism to interfere with or evade any enforcement action by a regulatory or law enforcement authority, including the licensing authority.

13. Not employing people who have evaded enforcement: ULL shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that they do not employ or engage as a Senior Manager or Director any person who has been found… to have:

(i) Promoted, approved or facilitated the possible or actual use of [any technology], so as to avoid or evade regulation in any jurisdiction; or

(ii) Otherwise interfered with or evaded regulatory enforcement in the private hire and taxi sector, whether in the United Kingdom or in any other jurisdiction.

 – the curiosity being the need for those obligations to be reduced to binding conditions.

Unlawful operation

Senior District Judge Arbuthnot declined to hear submissions on the issue of Uber’s model being inherently unlawful because it requires drivers on the Uber platform to ply for hire.

Cross Border Hiring

The judge also rejected submissions by the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association that Uber’s intended area of operation (its unilaterally defined “London Region”) included 49 local authorities outside the Greater London Licensing Area, in which Uber is not licensed but proposes to operate nonetheless. She ruled that that “was not relevant” to the issues she had to decide.

The evidence from TfL was that cross border hiring raises “serious safety concerns”.


Gerald Gouriet QC and Charles Holland appeared for the LTDA

See also – Uber Licence Appeal 2020: Uber Wins Appeal