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TFL In The Dock: High Court Action To Expose “Appalling Failure” Of Taxi Regulator

This is the action we have all been waiting for.....this IS the big one we must all support.
Regardless of what org or union you belong to, this action transcends trade group loyalties. 

This is action by the trade, for the trade and is probably our last chance to make a stand.

TFL In The Dock: High Court Action To Expose “Appalling Failure” Of Taxi Regulator

TFL accused by top QC of an “appalling failure” to uphold the law on taxis 
The regulator faces High Court action for allowing Uber to ignore the law
Uber’s entire UK taxi operation could be brought to a halt by an injunction
Westminster Chief Magistrate faces criticism for a conflict of interest

One of the UK’s top QCs is about to launch a High Court action against Transport for London for failing to uphold the law on taxis. It gives traditional taxis the exclusive right to display their availability for hire in return for higher standards.  

Robert Griffiths QC, whom The Times described as “one of the biggest names at the bar”, is preparing pre-action protocols for a High Court case which could lead to all of Uber’s UK operations being shut down for failing to comply. 

The case gives the High Court its first opportunity to examine the core legal issue in an action bought by an alliance of London taxi drivers and industry suppliers.

“In this case I will chart the appalling failure of TFL to apply a law designed to ensure the safety of passengers. That purpose has not changed. Nor has this law been superseded by either technology or the scale of Uber’s illegal activities,” said Mr Griffiths of 6 Pump Court Chambers who is seeking an injunction to stop Uber’s UK operations.

The view that Uber is also not "fit and proper” to hold a licence was put forward by Clifford Chance in 2015 when it called for TFL to shut it down with “immediate effect” for multiple failures. [1] TFL acknowledged earlier this year that it had allowed Uber to operate despite it not meeting the standard. [2] 

The High Court case will argue that Uber continues to fail to be “fit and proper” for reasons including its avoidance of almost all tax on its UK profits. It portrays them as being the tax-free royalties of a Dutch company which has no employees.  

“Uber is a corporate vulture. It does not pay for the roads it drives on. Even if it became the perfect company tomorrow the damage it has done through its illegal operations have still caused actionable harm. Uber has long thought itself bigger than the law of this land. Our High Court judges will have a different view,” said Mr Griffiths, who is pursuing substantial damages for traditional taxi drivers against Uber.

The legal action will additionally contend that Westminster Magistrates Court failed to uphold the law in a case in June. In that the court’s Chief Magistrate, Emma Arbuthnot, gave Uber permission to continue to operate despite the company admitting that it had repeatedly failed to conform with the law. [3] 

The taxi alliance behind the High Court case was further outraged when it was later revealed that the magistrate’s husband worked for one of Uber’s biggest investors. The uproar over that led to Ms Arbuthnot ruling herself out from hearing future cases involving Uber. [4]

“By admitting it was a big enough conflict to stop her sitting in future cases it shows that she had no right to sit on the case in which she gave Uber a green light,” said Angie Clarkson of the London Taxi Action Group which is fighting the case. [5]

Speaking about the action Trevor Merralls, General Secretary of the United Cabbies Group, said “TFL have repeatedly said ‘we know your views about what we are doing, if you don’t like it take us to court.’ Well we don’t and we are."  

[2] TFL says Uber “not fit and proper”: https://www.ft.com/content/c3b58f51-6daa-371a-b8cf-97618a3accbc
[5] London Taxi Action Group: consists of UCG and five key suppliers to the London taxi trade


Listen from 27:48 to Sean Paul Days interview with Trevor Merrals on London Taxi Radio

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