The Administrative Court has quashed a policy implemented by Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council in which applicants for private hire vehicle driver licences were required to declare that they would drive their vehicles predominantly within the Knowsley area. Under the licensing scheme for private hire vehicles (minicabs) set out in the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, so long as the vehicle, the driver and the operator through which the minicab is booked are licensed by the same authority, there is no legal requirement that journeys only take place within the licensed area.
The policy was challenged by Uber Britannia Ltd, along with another operator, on the basis that the Council had a duty to grant a minicab driver licence to an applicant where the Council was satisfied that the applicant was a fit and proper person, and that requiring the applicant to drive predominantly in the Knowsley area was not something which could be an aspect of the applicant’s fitness or propriety.
In R (Uber Britannia Ltd & Delta Merseyside Ltd) v Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council  EWHC 757 (Admin), Kerr J agreed with Uber’s challenge. Such a requirement could not be adopted as a part of the fit and proper person test, and the Council had no wider discretion through which it could incorporate an obligation of that sort on drivers. The policy was accordingly quashed.
The judgment can be read here: http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2018/757.html
Christopher Knight, led by Philip Kolvin QC, acted for Uber Britannia throughout (although unable to attend the hearing), instructed by DLA Piper.