London Black Cab drivers have lost their legal challenge against the licence granted to Uber London Limited in the High Court on Tuesday morning.
The United Cabbies Group (London) Ltd, a mutual society representing Hackney Carriage Drivers in London, had challenged the decision to grant a 15-months operating licence to the ride-hailing app.
Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett and Mr Justice Supperstone dismissed the case on Tuesday.
Lord Burnett said in his ruling: “Having ascertained all the circumstances bearing on the suggestion that the judge was biased, we consider that those circumstances would not lead a fair-minded and informed observer to conclude that there was a real possibility that the judge was biased in this case.”
He added: “The list of tenuous connections unearthed, no doubt as a result of deploying time and energy to internet searching, fall well short of evidence of links that would begin to give a fair-minded observer even pause for thought.”
UCG had claimed that Senior District Judge Emma Arbuthnot, the Chief Magistrate who granted a London Private Hire Vehicle Operator’s Licence to Uber London for a period of 15 months, was biased.
A licence had earlier been refused by Transport for London but by the time the appeal came on for hearing before the judge, TFL no longer opposed its grant.
UCG had challenged the decision in judicial review proceedings brought against Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
UCG had challenged on two grounds. First, it is said that the decision is tainted by actual or apparent bias by reason of the judge’s husband’s financial relationship with Uber. Secondly, the judge acted unlawfully in granting the licence to Uber, which UCG suggests was not a fit and proper person within the meaning of the relevant regulation.