Mr Justice Mitting today gave oral judgment on a claim brought by Uber London Ltd and certain private hire vehicle (minicab) drivers. The claim challenged certain regulatory requirements imposed by Transport for London.

By the time of the hearing the requirements in dispute were: (1) a requirement that all drivers must demonstrate proficiency in English (speaking, listening, reading and writing) at level B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference; (2) a requirement that operators must enable passengers to speak to a person at the operator at all times during their journey; (3) a requirement relating to hire or reward insurance.

Uber challenged the reading and writing elements of the English Language Requirement. The court held that these were necessary and proportionate given the need of minicab drivers to understand regulatory documents with safety implications and other information sent to them by TfL that would contribute to passenger convenience. It followed that the requirements were lawful, notwithstanding their likely significant impact on the rights of drivers under Article 49 TFEU and notwithstanding that many of those affected would be of non-UK national origins and from minority ethnic groups.

The court accepted the need for telephone access in urgent emergency situations, but held that the requirement to make available a voice platform in non-emergency cases exceeded what was necessary.

The insurance requirement was quashed by consent and will be reconsidered.

Martin Chamberlain QC, Tim Johnston and David Heaton appeared for Transport for London.