Ride-sharing app Uber was again left reeling by a legal decision last month after the European Court of Justice (ECJ) found that the firm is essentially a transport, not information sharing service.
The European court issued a decision in Asociación Profesional Elite Taxi v. Uber Systems Spain SL (C-434/15) on 20 December 2017, finding that Uber’s taxi-hailing peer-to-peer service “must be regarded as forming an integral part of an overall service whose main component is a transport service”. This means that Uber will be subject to transport regulations in each EU member state in which it operates.
Rather than “an information society service” (ISS), this means it will be classed as “a service in the field of transport” under EU law.
Our Commercial & Technology team head, Mark Blunden, told Digital Business Lawyer this week that the decision could have major implications to tech firms that rely heavily on the “gig economy” for their business model.
“The integral nature of the role as intermediary and the extent of control which they exercise over the service being delivered will be a fascinating balancing act to watch play out in this space” Mark told the magazine.
“Will technology enabled businesses reduce the extent of control exerted over service providers in the gig economy, in a play to remain a lightly regulated ISS and at the same time seek to avoid having service providers classed as ‘workers?’ Or will more ISS classified businesses conclude that is too much of a gamble, judge instead that service quality and certainty are more important, and choose to follow Uber into conventionally regulated sectors?”
Uber is due to defend its right to operate in London in court this year after the app was deemed unfit to run a taxi service there.