Showing posts with label Taxi Leaks Editorial August 21. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Taxi Leaks Editorial August 21. Show all posts

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

LCDC letter, sent out to Lord Chief Justice and Tfl's Howard Carter.

The Rt Hon Lord Burnett
Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales
Royal Courts of Justice
21st August 2018
Senior District Judge Arbuthnot
Dear Lord Chief Justice,
I am writing as Chairman of the London Cab Drivers Club (“LCDC”) which is a mutual society that represents many London licensed Hackney Carriage drivers (“black cabs”) in London.
On the 18th August a story was published in The Guardian newspaper which was also published online ( which informed their readership that the Chief Magistrate, District Judge Emma Arbuthnot, was “stepping aside” from hearing further Uber hearings, to avoid any perceived conflict of interest, as a result of her husband, Baron Arbuthnot (Cons: Wanstead & Woodford), being a fee earning “Senior Consultant” (and former Director) of SC Strategy which is known to represent the interests of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), which in turn is a major Uber and therefore “ULL” investor.
It is clear that between 30th April 2018 when the “ULL” appeal began at Westminster Magistrates Court and the 26th June 2018 when the ruling was delivered, that TFL were not aware of the potential conflict of interest in having the Chief Magistrate determine the issue of “ULL”’s fitness to operate. In this ruling the Chief Magistrate handed “ULL” a 15 month lifeline, without which they would have been unable to run their business in London.
Indeed, it is understood that prior to this link having been disclosed by journalists for The Guardian, the Chief Magistrate had already taken a keen interest in “LUL” (and Uber cases), having ruled in favour (again) on another case and having had 5 other cases, which featured “ULL” or Uber issues reserved to herself (including one in Brighton, which after having the conflict pointed out to her, she immediately passed to a fellow Judge).
Whilst we are heartened that the Chief Magistrate has clearly formed the view that there is likely to be a perception of impartiality because of her husband’s links to the mysterious SC Strategy Ltd (a company established by Lord Carlile along with Sir John Scarlett in 2012, which invited Baron Arbuthnot to be a Director in January 2017), it is disappointing that a review of her role in the appeal TFL v ULL has not been considered.
SC Strategy Ltd is described as offering clients strategic advice on UK policy and regulation and paid out dividends to the Lord Calilie and Sir John Scarlett totalling £800,000 between 2012 and 2015. Indeed so little is known about this company that the only known client is QIA (the Qatar Sovereign Wealth Fund). Had there been many companies for which her husband was a director, it would be plausible that the Chief Magistrate (appointed in October 2016 after having been Deputy Chief Magistrate to Howard Riddle for the preceding 4 years) may know very little about his interests...
Unfortunately, Baron Arbuthnot has only been the Director of 4 companies, coincidentally 2 of these he shared a Directorship with Lord Calile; SC Strategy Ltd (01/01/16 – 31/12/17) and Astute Strategy Ltd (which he joined in May 2017). AS Ltd is an active (yet dormant) company. Of the remaining 2 he resigned from Vertic in November 2013 and whilst he remains a Director of Gusbourne PLC, this company manufactures English sparking wine, which is unlikely to be the sort of company where a conflict with her Judicial Office would be found.
You may feel that it is worthy of note that in an investigation by the Wall Street Journal on members of the House of Lord’s interests, Lord Carlile said SC Strategy 'are not involved in lobbying at all, nor do we provide services in government relations,' adding 'we give strategic advice to entities and individuals on UK regulatory issues, on the structure and working of government, and how best to place themselves in the UK'. Confirming that Clients include the QIA and on this he says, 'we give advice to a sovereign wealth fund, which of course includes its subsidiaries according to need'.
Thus, to summarise:
Baron Arbuthnot, is a fee earning Consultant in SC Strategy Ltd (for which he was formerly a Director).
SG Strategy Ltd.’s only known client is QIA.
QIA is a major investor (perhaps to the tune of more than $1 billion dollars) in Uber/ULL indeed, so major is the investment that it could well be considered a subsidiary of GIA.
SG Strategy Ltd gives “strategic advice... on UK regulatory issues... and how to best place themselves in the UK” and
his wife, who is the Chief Magistrate, apparently unaware of the link to Uber hears the appeal of TFL v ULL.
The Appeal is successful and the Chief Magistrate grants an 18 month extension which permits ULL to operate in London (and QIA does not suffer financially).
I am sure that you will be aware of the case of R v Sussex Justices, Ex parte McCarthy ([1924] 1 KB 256, [1923] All ER Rep 233) which is a leading case on the impartiality and recusal of Judges is famous for its precedence in establishing the principle that the mere appearance of bias is sufficient to overturn a judicial decision. It also brought into common parlance the oft-quoted aphorism "Not only must Justice be done; it must also be seen to be done”.
It is difficult to accept that The Guardian newspaper were the first to bring the connection to the Chief Magistrate with regard to her husbands business interests but that being said, if the mere appearance of bias is sufficient to overturn a judicial decision ought that not to be done in the appeal of TFL v ULL?  
I very much appreciate your time in reading this letter and look forward to your considered response.
Yours sincerely
Grant Davis

from Taxi Leaks

Family Of Suicide Taxi Driver, Puts Up Charity Billboard In Welling

A family from Welling has turned their grief into action after their father took his own life, by helping other men suffering from mental illness.

Joey Barton, a black cab driver, was just 57 years old when he committed suicide on June 23 of this year. His funeral took place on July 19.

After his death, his ex-wife Christine, and their two children, Sam and Chloe, wanted to do something to honour his memory.

“We were absolutely devastated. We never thought it would happen,” Christine told News Shopper.

She describes her ex-husband as “very sociable” with “lots of friends,” which left people shocked and confused when they found out he had died.

At his funeral, a friend who worked alongside Joey on the taxi circuit said he “could not comprehend” the idea he had killed himself.

Just a week before he died, the pair had been “laughing, joking and having a bit of banter.”

Since Joey’s death, Christine told News Shopper she and her children “did not want to sweep it under the carpet,” and, said they wanted to address the issue of suicide rates in men.

So, instead of collecting for flowers at his funeral, Joey’s family asked mourners to donate to a gofundme page set up on behalf of the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), which works to prevent suicide.

After fundraising and liaising with the charity, and with a bit of help from Christine’s experience in marketing, the family has put up a billboard under the railway bridge in Welling, at the junction of Bellegrove Road and Westwood Lane. It will be on display until September 12.

“It was my son’s idea,” Christine said, after Sam had heard about the charity through a friend, Jamie Kitto, who lives in County Durham.

Jamie has been familiar with the work of CALM for some time, and has managed to campaign for a billboard of his own to be put up at the grounds of Horden Community Welfare FC.

Now the family is asking other organisations across the country to get involved and offer their support to CALM in Joey’s memory.

Christine said: “When you take your own life your pain and suffering does not die with you. It is inherited by your loved ones.

“Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem and it is never, ever, the answer. This is why we have to get men talking, to open up about how they are feeling.

“There is help out there and it's okay not to be okay

Source : News Shopper.

from Taxi Leaks

Police Chief Inspector Arrested In Benidorm After Row With Local Taxi Driver

Police in Benidorm were called to the well-known town centre…but it was nothing to do with the traditional problems associated with British Tourists!

This time, it a chief inspector from one of the National Police units based in Valencia who ended up being detained after an alleged altercation with a taxi driver.

According to a report in the Spanish media, two members of the Local Police were slightly injured, apprehending the chief inspector.

It all kicked off in Calle Ibuza in Benidorm, when three people, including the police chief (who was off duty and not in uniform) tried to get into a Taxi that was off duty. 
The driver told the three he was off duty, but it all got out of hand and the local police were called by the driver.

When they arrived at the scene, they arrested one of the men who was described as being “very upset” at what had taken place. His two companions tried to calm the situation down, but the situation became increasingly heated.

When the Chief Inspector was asked to show some ID, he allegedly refused and threatened to report the five members of the Local Police that had arrived.

He was then arrested and taken to the National Police station in Benidorm, where legal proceedings were put into operation.

Source : RTN news.

from Taxi Leaks

Businessman says Manchester Airport's drop-off charges have added £50 to his monthly Uber bill

A businessman who travels through Manchester Airport every week says the cost of his minicab rides have gone up by £50 a month since new drop-off charges were launched.

Michael Cowell, 34 from Altrincham, travels regularly in his role as a furniture design company director.

Last month, hub bosses introduced ‘kiss and fly’ drop-off charging, with drivers paying £3 for five minutes or £4 for ten minutes - and £25 for stays over that.

The airport has long had a £4 minimum car parking charge in place. But drivers used to avoid paying this by using forecourts to pick up - against airport rules.

However forecourts have now been taken over by the drop-off charging bays - which means drivers picking up passengers now have no choice but to pay.

Michael now claims Uber drivers he has used are passing on both pick up and drop-off charges - plus a premium for waiting time - taking his average journey cost from £17 to £23, and his monthly outlay from around £136 to £184.

And that’s when Michael can even get a cab - he says Uber drivers have started to refuse pick-ups from T3 because of the inconvenience and cost.

He added: “Last week fifteen different Uber drivers cancelled on me and I had to get a black cab for £31 because Uber drivers have started to boycott T3 to avoid the hassle of going through the car park now the forecourts are no-go areas.

“Between Manchester Airport’s policies and Uber I’m much worse off. There must be loads of people in the same boat.”

(Image: Manchester Evening News)
The dad-of-two, whose work takes him to destinations across the UK, Ireland and France, added: “It sounds like small costs but it adds up pretty quickly for someone like me.

“I understand the airport needs to pay for its expansion but this new parking system hasn’t gone down well.

“It’s harder to drop off and it’s harder to pick up because you are now forced through a car park. It’s expensive.

“I’d like the airport to make it work better and review the charges because they’re unfair.”

He added: “I’d like to see the director of the airport comment on this. I’ve got this old-fashioned mentality that the leaders of an airport should get involved when there’s clearly a problem.

“Yet when I complain I just get this stock answer which doesn’t address my complaint.”

A Manchester Airport spokesman said private hire companies were responsible for setting their own fares and that drivers can apply for a discount scheme.

The spokesman added there was a free drop-off option at the Jet Parks 1 which cab drivers can also use to avoid fees.

A Manchester Airport, spokesman, said: “As we developed our new forecourt arrangements, we considered the interests of a significant number of user groups. This included frequent commercial users, such as private hire operators, for whom a discount scheme was developed.

“While it is the decision of each private hire firm whether they pass on this discount, it was our intention in creating the scheme that passengers would be the ultimate beneficiaries. We will continue to monitor the situation.”

An Uber spokesman confirmed drivers were passing on the charges from the airport, but declined to comment further

Source Manchester Evening News.

from Taxi Leaks