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Cab drivers to challenge decision to grant Uber 15-month licence in London

London cab drivers have applied for judicial review against Westminster Magistrates’ Court in a dispute over whether a judge’s decision to grant a licence to the taxi app firm Uber was tainted with bias.

Robert Griffiths QC and Stuart Jessop of 6 Pump Court Chambers will act for the United Cabbies Group (UCG).

They will argue that Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot should not on 26 June have a granted Uber a 15 month licence to operate in the capital.

Following a newspaper report in August about her husband’s business involvement with Uber she recused herself from further hearings connected to the firm.

The Observer newspaper published claims that Lord Arbuthnot acted as an adviser to the Qatar Investment Authority, a large shareholder in Uber.

Cab drivers will argue that her decision in June was therefore tainted with bias, and that Lady Arbuthnot anyway failed to make a finding that Uber was ‘a fit and proper person’ according to the legislation.

“The claim is the start of a series of legal claims which will challenge Uber’s working model and commercial practices as well as the failure of TFL to effectively regulate them,” a statement from 6 Pump Court said.

Angie Clarkson of the United Trade Action Group, of which the UCG is part, said: “By admitting [the conflict of interest] was big enough to stop her hearing future cases, it shows that she had no right to sit in the case in which she gave Uber a green light.”

Mark Smulian

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