Class action against Uber gets a lift across the country

28 November 2018
Class action experts Maurice Blackburn Lawyers will expand its class action against Uber nationwide, with the Victorian Supreme Court claim to now also encompass taxi and hire car drivers, operators and licence owners in Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia.

The expansion to states outside of Victoria will mean thousands more who had their livelihoods drastically impacted by Uber’s allegedly illegal operation will now be able to seek redress, with the total claim likely to dwarf any previous class action recovery in Australia’s history, if successful.

From today, drivers from New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia can register to join their Victorian counterparts in taking on Uber, by completing a simple online form at www.mauriceblackburn.com.au/uberclassaction

Senior Associate at Maurice Blackburn, Elizabeth O’Shea, said there were no out of pocket costs or liability risk for registrants, with the case costs being underwritten by a third party litigation funder.

“Uber sells a notion that it’s just here to do things differently, but in reality and as we will allege, different has meant operating unlawfully and that has caused extensive loss and damage to law-abiding taxi and hire car operators and licence holders across the country,” Ms O’Shea said.

“It was Uber that came in and exploited people by operating outside of regulations, it was Uber’s conduct that led to decimating losses suffered by our group members and for those reasons it is the multi-billion dollar company Uber and its associated entities that we are targeting in order to provide redress to those affected.

“This class action will likely be one of the biggest in Australia on any measure – the number of people involved, the potential recovery of compensation for law-abiding operators and licence holders, and no doubt the extent of the fight we are anticipating from the defendants.

“We have a proud history of running the nation’s largest and toughest class actions and we believe that this is the best mechanism to pursue some meaningful form of justice and compensation for those who have had their lives turned upside down by Uber’s alleged illegal operation in Victoria, NSW, Qld and WA.

The registration site is www.mauriceblackburn.com.au/uberclassaction and it is now open to accept details.

Maurice Blackburn is Australia’s leading class action law firm, having recovered more than $2.6 billion for victims of mass wrongs since 1998. The firm is responsible for the nation’s largest class action recoveries. The proposed action is backed by Harbour Litigation Funding Limited, a leading global funder with hubs in the UK and Asia-Pacific.

“There are thousands of taxi and hire care operators and licence holders in New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia and we anticipate strong interest from those that have felt the impact of Uber’s alleged unlawful entry into the Australian market, in addition to the 1000+ registrants already in Victoria alone,” Ms O’Shea said.

Breakdown of numbers across each state represented in the class action

VIC

  • Taxi licences as at August 2017 – 4,624
  • Taxi drivers as at August 2017 – 16, 880
  • Hire-car licences 2016/17 – 1,140

“We are glad to have paved the way for these other states to come on board and join this action as a way to hold Uber to account for the damage it caused to our industry.” – Rod Barton, President Commercial Passenger Vehicle Association of Australia (CPVAA)

NSW

  • Taxi licences as at 1 July 2015 – 7,285
  • Taxi drivers as at 1 July 2015 – more than 22,000
  • Hire-car licences as at 1 July 2015 – 1,700

“Thousands of our members – hard-working Australians – have been impacted by Uber’s actions. Taxi licence owners, operators and drivers have suffered enormously, both emotionally and financially, causing a significant impact on their livelihood. The NSW Taxi Council welcomes the opportunity for our members to recover some of their vast losses”. – Martin Rogers, CEO – NSW Taxi Council.

QLD

  • Taxi licences as at 2016 – 3,260
  • Taxi drivers – 13,158
  • Limousine licences as at 2016 – 583

“This has been a big issue for affected drivers and licence holders here in Queensland and it’s something we’ve been working hard behind the scenes to make happen for some time, so it’s a good thing that our community now has the ability to hold Uber accountable for its actions.” – Shane Holley, owner and operator of Cabs2000 Queensland.

WA

  • Taxi licences as at May 2015 – 2,547
  • Taxi drivers – 6250
  • Charter vehicle licences - 600

"The way Uber entered the market severely impacted the individuals and families involved in operating small businesses providing taxi and charter vehicle services in Western Australia. So to have the opportunity to pursue justice without our industry having to further reach into already depleted savings, will be welcomed by those affected.” – Athan Tsirigotis, spokesperson Taxi Operators Legal Defence Group (TOLD).

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