News & Views

Alliott Group report highlights uncertainty of Uber and ‘ride sharing’ industry in many jurisdictions


Alliott Group's latest report, contributed to by Sherrards, shows that the legal status and future of Uber and ‘ride sharing’ industry remains uncertain in many jurisdictions.

A report comparing eight jurisdictions around the world from Alliott Group, an international alliance of over 160 professional services firms including Sherrards, reveals a wide variety of government responses to the regulation of ride sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft.   

The jurisdictions compared in the Alliott Group report (‘The Bigger Picture’) include California, Ohio, the United Kingdom, New Delhi, Germany, Toronto, Australia and Italy.  James Hickey, CEO of Alliott Group comments: “Our report shows that the legal status of ride sharing companies varies not only across countries but also within countries; in Australia for example, ride sharing is illegal in Brisbane, but regulated and legal in the capital Canberra and in Sydney.” 

Some of the highlights from the report are detailed below:

London, United Kingdom

Paul Marmor, partner at Sherrards Solicitors comments: “A High Court ruling confirmed that Uber’s ride sharing app does not breach UK law, but the outcomes of employment law cases related to the legal classification of drivers will have a bearing on how the company operates in the future.” 

Australia

Jon Broadley of Broadley Rees Hogan comments: “In Sydney, the industry is now regulated with the state Government describing the change as a necessary update on ‘out dated’ transport regulations. Taxi licence owners have been compensated with a AUD 250 Million ‘industry adjustment package’.” 

Ohio, USA

Bob Ross of Hahn Loeser & Parks adds: “The responses across Ohio’s main cities have varied, some city councils passing ordinances to regulate ride sharing, while others have left companies such as Uber operating ‘in a regulatory void’.  New state-wide legislation is due in March 2016.”

California, USA

Shane Devins of Masuda Funai comments: “While ride sharing services can now legally pick up passengers at LAX, as in London, their long-term prospects hinge on a lawsuit related to the classification of drivers and the employment law implications that may follow. 

New Delhi, India

Alfred Adebare of LexCounsel comments: “Uber continues to operate in Delhi despite its application for a license being rejected twice. Should Uber become a licensee, compliance would require Uber to modify its business model to such a degree that its future could be threatened.” 

Italy

In Italy, Michele Calleri, a partner at Studio Legale Associato Calleri Noviello & Morazzoni Sangalli, reports that “the debate centres largely on unfair competition in a taxi industry that is high regulated. While Uber’s POP service is illegal, the UberBlack service continues to operate in Milan and Rome. Italy’s Government continues to seek a legal solution that will allow Uber to operate some of their services.” 

Germany

Stefan Simon of SPITZWEG Partnerschaft comments: “Uber is illegal in Germany as the 1968 German Passenger Transportation Act prevents the company from registering as a ‘taxi’ transportation system. However, bigger questions related to EU law and the freedom of establishment and services give Uber hope.” 

Toronto, Canada

Michelle Stephenson of Devry Smith Frank comments: “While the city of Toronto acknowledges that Uber is operating ‘outside of the law’, it has not been willing to enforce this position. New legislation is pending with Toronto’s mayor acknowledging that ride sharing and taxi companies should be subject to a different set of regulations.” 

More Information

Read the full report online or visit Alliott Group's website for more information.