Comparative Report Shows Legal Status and Future of Uber and ‘Ride Sharing’ Industry Remains Uncertain in Many Jurisdictions

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

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The legal status of ride sharing services such as Uber varies across and within countries

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.

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: “The report prepared by legal members of our international alliance 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 London law firm 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.”

Jon Broadley of Brisbane law firm 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 Ohio law firm 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 Los Angeles law firm 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 Delhi based law firm 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.”

In Italy, Michele Calleri, a partner at law firm 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.”

Stefan Simon of German law firm 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 at Toronto law firm 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.”

Read the full report
Click here to download the full report drafted by Alliott Group’s lawyer members.

About Alliott Group
With some 170 accounting and law member firms in 70 countries, Alliott Group is an association of accounting firms and law firms that offers middle market companies an alternative solution for accessing accounting and legal services. Together or individually, member firms offer cross border focused companies advantages that include greater cost-efficiency and a more tailored, one-to-one approach to meeting their business challenges.

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Giles Brake
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