Uber refusal cost council more than £35k

Posted On 18 Dec 2018 at 12:30 pm

Refusing to renew Uber’s licence has ended up costing Brighton and Hove City Council at least £35,000 in court costs.

When district judge Tessa Szagun allowed Uber’s appeal earlier this month, she also awarded £20,000 costs to the taxi hailing app.

And the council also spent £15,000 on its own barrister, Leo Charalambides, as well as devoting in-house legal staff’s time to defending the appeal.

The council argued that the way Uber operates, with its extensive use of out of area drivers, undermined local rules, such as the requirement for CCTV to be fitted in cars.

However, Uber’s barrister Philip Kolvin QC quoted case law and the chief magistrate to back up his argument that the so-called “right to roam” outweighs this.

In her judgement, Tessa Szagun said: “I cannot concede to the plea to ‘sympathy’ put forward on behalf of Brighton and Hove City Council. I am bound by the legal framework and authorities as clearly and comprehensively set out above.

“Any changes to this are a matter for parliament.”

The taxi hailing app’s bid to renew its taxi operator licence was refused in May by a three councillor licensing panel which cited Uber’s use of out of area drivers and a data breach

Uber appealed and strongly contested the decision at a one-day hearing at Brighton Magistrates’ court in November, and the ruling was announced on December 11.

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