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GMB union and taxi drivers’ group win right to roles in Uber licence court fight

Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot said she would allow both parties to participate “fairly and justly”.

A union and a taxi driver trade body can participate in Uber’s forthcoming legal battle to win back its operating licence in London, a court has ruled.

The GMB and the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA) had mounted legal efforts to become participants in the cab-hailing firm’s appeal against Transport for London (TfL).

TfL refused to renew Uber’s licence on the grounds of “public safety and security implications” in September.

During a hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, the GMB said Uber “incentivised” drivers to work dangerously long hours and it was a threat to public safety.

The union had hoped to make representations about Uber’s business practice during the appeal, while the LTDA had alleged the tech company was operating unlawfully.

Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot said she would allow both parties to participate “fairly and justly”.

She told the court: “They are to participate to the extent that I allow them to.”

This means their presence will be more limited in order to reduce costs, she added.

Ms Arbuthnot said she did not have any express powers to grant them participation in the appeal process, but had implied power over the appeal proceedings themselves.

The GMB will be able submit evidence and make oral and written submissions, but only on the issue of driver working hours.

Involvement of the LTDA, however, hinges on whether its arguments fall outside the issues TfL intends to discuss in court.

It is not planning to call any oral or written evidence during the hearing.

Ms Arbuthnot said the appeal was not the correct “forum” for the LTDA to pursue claims that Uber was operating illegally.

A full appeal hearing is expected to take place in either May or June next year, with a date yet to be set.

A case management hearing will take place on April 30.

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