The Memo: Black cab drivers launch legal action against Uber

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Black cab drivers launch legal action against Uber

Erin Bradbury - 13 May 2024

Once again, Uber is facing legal action. This time, claimant group ‘BULiT21’ (made up of over 10,500 London black cab drivers) is bringing forth a whopping £250 million class action against the companyThis time, the claim concerns Uber’s operations between 2012 and 2018. According to a claimant, the group will be seeking justice and fair compensation on behalf of cab drivers across London. Uber seems to believe it is above the law and cabbies across London have suffered a loss of earnings because of it. 

The claim relies on the Private Hires Vehicles (London) Act 1988, and Uber has been accused of unlawfully obtaining a licence from Transport for London. Essentially, the claimants have alleged that Uber did not comply with the necessary app-based service operating requirements and deliberately deceived TfL when obtaining the Private Hire Vehicle Licence. Moreover, they will argue that Uber intended to unlawfully gain market share by taking business from black cab drivers. (It’s worth noting here that, in 2019, Uber was denied renewal of its licence but successfully appealed, with TfL granting them a 30-month licence in 2022 that’s set to expire this September.) However, Uber has denied all these claims, and maintains that it has lawfully conducted business in London. 

Mishcon de Reya has been instructed by RGL Management (a litigation management company) on this estimated £250 million claimwith each cab driver’s claim worth up to £25,000. However, Uber operates in more than 10,000 cities across the globe, and the UK isn’t the only location of its legal troubles. In fact, last December, Uber won a case against 2,500 taxi drivers when a French court ruled that the company had not committed acts of unfair competition. On the other hand, in Australia earlier this year, Uber found itself footing the bill of a £141 million settlement as part of a class action filed by more than 8,000 taxi hire owners and drivers over lost income.