On 21-22 July 2020, Cloisters’ Jason Galbraith-Marten QC and Sheryn Omeri will appear before the Supreme Court, instructed by Paul Jennings and Rachel Mathieson of Bates Wells LLP, on behalf of the lead Claimant Uber drivers, Yaseen Aslam and James Farrar, in the case of Aslam & Farrar v Uber BV & Ors. Jason and Sheryn will be responding, on behalf of the lead Claimants, to Uber’s final appeal against the finding of the Employment Tribunal, in October 2016, that Uber drivers are workers and therefore entitled to minimum wage, holiday pay and to protection from discrimination and detriment for blowing the whistle. Uber will argue that its drivers are independent contractors and that Uber BV (the Dutch parent company) merely acts as their payment collection agent and Uber London Limited (the holder of the Private Hire Vehicle Operator’s licence in respect of the London region) as their booking agent. Thanks to the efforts of Jason and Sheryn, this argument has not found favour with the Employment Appeal Tribunal or the majority of the Court of Appeal. Uber will also invite the Supreme Court to overrule the seminal authority of Autoclenz v Belcher.
This is the first case to reach the Supreme Court concerning the employment status of “gig economy” workers proper. In view of its importance, the Supreme Court has allocated seven judges to hear the appeal. Its outcome will affect at least the 45,000 Uber drivers in London, and likely those working in the UK, outside of London. It will also, no doubt, have an impact upon Uber drivers working in other jurisdictions and upon those working in other fields which have adopted the “gig economy” model both within and outside the UK. Proceedings will be live streamed from the Supreme Court’s website.”