The Uber London Model is not Lawful

TfL has finally released the full reasons for its refusal to renew Uber’s London licence. In a letter to Uber dated 22 September, which the regulator had not made public until yesterday (19 December), TfL sets out in detail how Uber had misled it, and also misled the High Court, as to the order in which bookings are accepted through the Uber APP.  TfL say that Uber’s answers to questions were “materially false and misleading”.

In the same letter, TfL said that it was “currently minded to think” that the Uber model does not comply with the 1998 Act and is unlawful. TfL did not explain why ‘unlawfulness’ was not an express reason for refusal of Uber’s licence, other than to say that Uber’s misleading answers on the issue were “sufficient to undermine [its] fitness to hold a London PHV operator’s licence“.

In September 2017 TfL announced that it had not renewed Uber London’s licence: but the full reasons were not made public. When the LTDA asked to see those reasons TfL replied that the LTDA “was not entitled to them”.

The LTDA made an application to participate in Uber’s appeal to the magistrates’ court: its application was strenuously opposed by Uber. At a hearing on 19 December the Senior District Judge allowed the LTDA’s application and gave it permission to participate in Uber’s appeal. The extent and manner of LTDA participation will be decided by the judge on 30 April.

TfL’s 22 September letter was released on the afternoon before the hearing of LTDA’s application to participate in the appeal, as a direct result of the LTDA’s written submissions to the Court.

The substantive appeal is listed on 25 June 2018, with a provisional time estimate of 5 days. LTDA’s involvement is likely to be dependent on whether or not TfL  pursue the point that Uber’s model is unlawful.


Gerald Gouriet QC and Charles Holland appeared for the LTDA