The European Court of Justice recently classed Uber as a taxi company and not as a digital platform. Fieldfisher's Stefan Nerinckx spoke to the BBC on this matter and here gives his take on what this means for the future.
Stefan Nerinckx, partner in Fieldfisher's Brussels office, said: "After the European Court of Justice decided that Uber is to be treated as a transport company, the EU member states can now each impose (severe) regulations in respect of operating Uber on their territory - for instance in respect of safety, licensing, competition, registration. Indeed, every national member state will be able to impose its national/regional legislation on Uber, all of this within the general framework of the EU legislation.
"The high level of control exercised by Uber over its drivers was one of the main determining factors in the decision as to whether it is a transport company or a technological platform. The court stated that Uber exercises control on pricing and is influencing the time drivers should work, but also has the power of sanctioning and even of expulsion. UK Courts have as such determined that because there is a high level of control and no possibility of substitution, drivers should be considered as workers which adds to the complexities of this case. The aspect of control on the activities, the intensity and how it is exercised can indeed have some implications in respect of employment law.
"In regards to other platforms, every platform needs to be judged on a case-by-case basis; however the level of control which is exercised between the platform and the individuals using the platform is crucial to determine the link between the platform and the underlying activity. If the control is high, the underlying activity might well be determining in respect of the regulations to apply; these regulations might even become applicable to the platform itself. A thorough analysis of the structure to set up a platform company and a case-by-case approach is therefore advisable."
If you would like to speak to Stefan in more detail, please email Stefan.Nerinckx@fieldfisher.com.
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