Plying for hire - what is this arcane, elusive concept? Should it be defined? Should it be left alone? Just what does it mean? These are questions that crop up very frequently in taxi licensing matters. Here is my stab at setting out the law on plying for hire, with particular emphasis on the tension between the activities of hackney carriages (which can ply for hire - it is their defining characteristic) and other vehicles, including - now - licensed private hire vehicles.
As stated in the note, plying for hire is highly fact specific - if you have a particular issue, then take appropriate legal advice.
Here is the scenario: a local authority licences a hackney carriage or private hire driver. They are told that a serious allegation made against the driver: say a sexual assault by a passenger. A criminal investigation is underway; the driver has been arrested, exercised his right to silence (on legal advice), has been released on police bail and is yet to be charged; the passenger’s identity is being kept secret. Can the local authority immediately suspend the driver’s licence pending investigations and a full hearing at a later date, when it can consider whether to revoke the licence? Until the case of R. (on the application of Singh and others) v. Cardiff City Council  EHWC 1852 (Admin) it was thought that the answer was yes, it could. Dicta in Singh by the trial judge, Singh J., said the...
The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (“POCA”) does not appear to have pinged across the radars of many licensing practitioners. A search for the Act on the Institute of Licensing's website produces zero hits; a thumb through of back issues of the Journal of Licensing draws another blank; consult Paterson’s Licensing Acts and you will find only a handful of footnoted references to a single Crown Court decision of 2011.
To the uninitiated, POCA is for gangsters, drug dealers and money launderers. Serious criminals - so other people, or other people’s clients. Not something for licensors to worry about it.
However, perhaps not for much longer. Recent appellate case-law, a growing realisation by regulators of the potential applicability of POCA to their roles, and the increasing encroachment of crime in a wid...
At the time of writing, the amendments seem to have been made without announcement (in terms of email or pop-up message) to users of the Customer App. [Update: the change was mentioned en passant in an email concerning UberPOOL on 20 June 2016]
The changes appear to have been prompted by the introduction of UberEATS food delivery service in London - and it appears that Uber wishes to use the same small print for UberEATS as it does for “transportation services”.
The extent of the changes themselves is fairly minor (a tracked changes version is available here), but the document remains as before a fairly complex one which requires careful analysis. This is particularly because:
the customer is dealing with several entities (so, for...
Mohammed Shabir (t/a "Lifestyle Express") v. Newcastle City Council, Newcastle Magistrates' Court (DJ Sarah Griffiths) 16/6/16
An odd one here.
In 2012, an off-licence in Byker, Newcastle upon Tyne, applied to modestly increase its (morning) opening hours so that they were in line with competing outlets. The Police put in a representation in opposition. As part of a deal with the Police so the representation would be withdrawn, the premises agreed to submit to various conditions. So far, so typical.
However. One of the conditions, condition 9, read as follows:
The Designated Premises Supervisor or other responsible person appointed by the Designated Premises Supervisor shall take part in Police led initiatives such as “Off Watch”, “Alcohol Watch”, “Safer Summer Streets” or similar as well a...
It seems that local authorities and operators generally take the view that the provision of late night refreshment is a licensable activity even when that provision is undertaken solely by home delivery to customers.
So, for example, it is generally considered that a unit on an industrial estate which does not entertain personal callers, that is used between 11 pm and 5 am to produce hot food (say pizzas) which are then delivered to persons who have ordered it (either by telephone or online) needs a premises licence.
I think this general view is wrong. In my view, the unit I describe is not carrying out any licensable activity.
Late night refreshment
The licensable activity is (s.1(1)(d) of the Licensing Act 2003) the provision of late night refreshment.
Schedule 2 of the Act makes provision about what...