Union and taxi drivers' group can participate in Uber's London appeal

FILE PHOTO: A photo illustration shows the Uber app on a mobile telephone, as it is held up for a posed photograph, in London, Britain November 10, 2017. REUTERS/Simon Dawson/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - A British trade union and a taxi drivers’ trade body can take part in Uber’s appeal case against the decision by London’s transport regulator to strip the taxi app of its operating licence, a judge ruled on Tuesday.

The GMB Union and the London Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA), which represents the city’s black cab drivers, had asked to be “interested parties”, meaning they would be given access to documents and could make submissions. However some of their access may be restricted due to commercial sensitivities and the judge at a preliminary hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court on Tuesday said she couldn’t take a final decision on the LTDA’s role just yet. Regulator Transport for London (TfL) refused to grant Uber a new licence in September, citing its approach to reporting serious criminal offences and background checks on drivers. The substance of Uber’s appeal is due to be heard over five days from June 25 with a preliminary hearing due to take place before then in April to discuss further administrative matters.The Silicon Valley firm, which has faced bans, restrictions and protests around the world as it disrupts traditional rivals, can continue to operate until the appeals process is exhausted, which could take several years. At Tuesday’s hearing, TfL also said it had “one or two” issues regarding the accuracy of details provided by Uber.”The decision letter says, well, there are one or two issues about the extent to which the information given to TfL was correct,” TfL lawyer Martin Chamberlain told the court. “That is one of the points that the decision is based on.”After Uber was stripped of its operating licence, the firm’s boss Dara Khosrowshahi met TfL’s Commissioner Mike Brown and promised to make things right in the British city, its most important European market.

Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Stephen Addison