Commercial Law

Uber to pay compensation to Aussie taxi operators in major class action settlement

Uber has agreed to pay Australian taxi operators a $271.8 million settlement for loss of income and licence values following a five-year legal battle.

The settlement, which is the fifth largest class action in legal history in Australia, was set to be finalised in court in the middle of March.

The class action was filed by Maurice Blackburn Lawyers in 2019 on behalf of more than 8000 taxi and hire car owners and drivers who said they lost income when Uber entered the Australian market, diminishing their existing income and licence values.

Parties concerned appeared in the Supreme Court of Victoria before Justice Lisa Nichols for a brief hearing on Monday 18 March.

The settlement was reached on Sunday night, avoiding a ten-week trial, the court was told.

A settlement schedule will be presented to the court at an expected directions hearing on April 12.

Maurice Blackburn’s fees are expected to be between $30 million and $35 million, with the remainder to be divided up between the group members.

The response from the plaintiffs

Maurice Blackburn Lawyers Principal Michael Donelly said the historic settlement followed a grueling five-year legal battle.

“Uber fought tooth and nail at every point along the way, every day, for the five years this has been on foot, trying at every turn to deny our group members any form of remedy or compensation for their losses,” Donelly said.

“But on the courtroom steps and after years of refusing to do the right thing by those we say they harmed, Uber has blinked, and thousands of everyday Australians joined together to stare down a global giant.”

“This will be one of the top five class action settlements in Australian legal history – putting beyond any doubt that Uber has been held to account for its actions.

The response from Uber

An Uber spokesperson told the media that the regulatory environment had changed since the company was launched in Australia.

“When Uber started more than a decade ago, ridesharing regulations did not exist anywhere in the world, let alone Australia. Today is different, and Uber is now regulated in every state and territory across Australia, and governments recognise us as an important part of the nation’s transport mix,” the spokesperson said.

“The rise of ridesharing has grown Australia’s overall point-to-point transport industry, bringing with it greater choice and improved experiences for consumers, as well as new earnings opportunities for hundreds of thousands of Australian workers.

“Since 2018, Uber has made significant contributions into various state-level taxi compensation schemes, and with today’s proposed settlement, we put these legacy issues firmly in our past. We will continue focusing on helping the millions of Australians who use Uber get from A to B in a safe, affordable and reliable manner.

For more information and expert advice to ensure that your business is fully complying with relevant legislation, ask to speak to a commercial lawyer at Ezra Legal on (08) 8231 6100 or email reception@ezralegal.com.au.

For information on the range of commercial legal services that we provide at Ezra Legal, including dispute resolution casework, head to:

Julian Roffe

Practice Manager

Ezra Legal

Julian Roffe

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll to Top