March 5th 2019 : UTAG's Judicial Review Costs
The costs position of the Judicial Review is now known and as such, we are finally in a position to update you on UTAG's costs and how we have funded them.
To proceed with the JR, UTAG required a commitment for substantial funding, funding which came in the main by way of major donations by six trade stakeholders.
Whilst the stakeholders had no direct handling of the case, the UTAG Directors required the stakeholders firm financial commitment to proceed with the Judicial Review, as UTAG was yet to be incorporated and the driver donations had not commenced. As communicated via our website, we formed a stakeholder lead Steering Committee and without their incredible unwavering support, we would not have been able to bring the Judicial Review. We held two further meetings with a much wider group of stakeholders to explain the legal course UTAG would follow and many more bought into our ideology stepping up where required to assist us. UTAG would like to take this opportunity to thank the contributing stakeholders for their support. In due course, with their consent, it is our intention to list the group of stakeholders who financially supported the Judicial Review.
By way of a potted history, when we initially approached the original group of stakeholders, we needed assistance to help fund legal opinions. Angela and I were stunned at how incredibly receptive the stakeholders were to not only contribute to the legal opinions but also to do more. They shared our vision to work bilaterally to help secure the trades future. It surprised us that these large businesses expressed concern that the drivers had many options when it came to representation but they themselves had none. Nobody was representing their commercial interests and perhaps this was something that as drivers, we had overlooked. They could not rely on trade bodies such as LTDA or any other smaller group to represent their collective interests, as these groups are driver lead organisations, so effectively, they had no voice. By forming UTAG, we have created an entity that is designed to assist both sides of our trade, enabling us to work collaboratively and present one unified position in a collective effort to maintain our industry.
Having delivered the first stage of our action, our stakeholders, although not legally obliged, have agreed to pay almost 100% of UTAG's Judicial Review costs, as well as 100% of the adverse costs. In real terms, this incredible gesture means that UTAG's fundraising suffers no harm from the judgement and we are ahead of our fundraising forecast. This is an unprecedented show of good faith actually putting UTAG in to a better financial positon than before the Judicial Review, as we are now receiving substantial donations from drivers.
As I have previously expressed, we were extremely disappointed with the judgement as we so desperately wanted to deliver to you a win, a win that we as a trade deserve. Many of you would have seen scaremongering stories in our trade press as to why it was cost prohibitive to bring a Judicial Review and why we shouldn't have brought our action. The reality is that as a trade we had to bring it, we can no longer sit idly by and rely upon others to assist us. Whilst I cannot hide my disappointment that we could not deliver that win, I am proud that from a fledgling idea that we as a unified trade came together to bring the action. Watching and waiting, doing nothing, is not an option, never has been. We need to be pro-active.
We are very confident that our trade has the determination to see through the legal actions that we have conceived with our legal team to defend and protect our working practices. Angela and I are incredibly humbled by the support that we have received and we are immensely proud of the spirit of unity that UTAG is delivering. There are positives to be taken from a loss, firstly, the trade finally found a backbone, came together and advanced our collective protestations to the High Court, secondly, we shall pay costs to TfL well within our budget and not one single penny to Uber. The stakeholders took their responsibilities seriously and the drivers now need to match the financial commitment shown by them towards the Judicial Review for UTAG to bring high Court proceedings against TfL.
As you are acutely aware, our historical trade is faced with huge levels of uncertainty and without your continued support, UTAG cannot deliver on its goal to protect our industry from TfL's systemic failures. TfL have failed to maintain the distinctions of a two-tier market, allowing for unskilled drivers to operate in the 'on-demand' plying for hire market that is the exclusive preserve of the London taxi trade. The premature switch to electric is discriminatory and is decimating our industry. We also have the unabated rise of private hire, illegal cross-border hirings, restriction on road space; effectively we are being managed out of business. TfL claim the market is thriving but their own taxi driver and vehicle statistics show the polar opposite, we are being managed out of work in a city that we trained to serve.
We need your support, so please continue and do encourage others to donate to UTAG, as collectively we must hold those who have caused us harm accountable. Now or Never.
Thank you for your support,
Director, United Trade Action Group Limited