POLITICS
16/10/2015 06:35 BST | Updated 16/10/2015 07:59 BST

Uber Is Not Illegal, Rules High Court

A man holds a smartphone displaying the Uber app as taxis line up on Fleet Street during a protest by the United Cabbies Group (UCG), which represents more than 1,400 London black cab drivers, over the regulation of private hire cars.
Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
A man holds a smartphone displaying the Uber app as taxis line up on Fleet Street during a protest by the United Cabbies Group (UCG), which represents more than 1,400 London black cab drivers, over the regulation of private hire cars.

The minicab-hailing app Uber does not break the law, a High Court judge has ruled.

Transport for London (TfL) had sought clarification as to whether the smartphone app breaks the law by operating in the same way as meters used by more strictly regulated black cabs to calculate fares.

Section 11 (1) of the Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998, bars all private hire cars from being "equipped" with taximeters.

Lord Justice Ouseley ruled that Uber’s mobile service did not constitute a taximeter. "A taximeter‎, for the purposes of section 11 of the Private Hire Vehicles Act 1998 does not include a device that receives GPS signals in the course of a journey, and forwards GPS data to a server located outside of the vehicle, which server calculates a fare that is partially or wholly determined by reference to distance travelled and time taken and sends the fare information back to the device," he said.

Alex Belardinelli, the head of communications for Uber, said the ruling was "great news for Londoners and a victory for common sense".

And Jo Bertram, Uber’s regional general manager for UK, Ireland and the Nordics, added: "Now the high court has ruled in favour of new technology, we hope Transport for London will think again on their bureaucratic proposals for apps like Uber."

However the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association said it has lodged appeal to Supreme Court. "The law really is an Ass! It uses time & distance to calculate fare and it's not a meter????," the LTA tweeted.

London mayor Boris Johnson has previously said it would be "nuts" to try and ban Uber. Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he said: "The app is allowing private hire vehicles to behave like black taxis: to be hailed, to ply for hire in the streets, to do exactly what the law says they are not supposed to do."