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Last week we issued proceedings against Uber London Limited.
Those who funded the action will have noticed that there was a delay between the funds being collected and proceedings being issued. This was to address the question of costs in more detail.
Uber have instructed Herbert Smith Freehills (“HSF”) to act for them in the proceedings and HSF have written several letters stating that Uber will look to recover its costs from Good Law Project Director, Jo Maugham, if they lose. This is no small matter: it is perfectly possible that Uber’s costs of litigating the matter will reach £1m in the High Court alone. And, absent costs protection, that burden will fall on him personally.
Following that correspondence we took advice from a QC who specialises in costs. Having taken that advice we were able to issue proceedings. But we will need to resolve the costs issue early on in proceedings.
We appreciate that many of those who funded this case want to see it move forward quickly. Legally, we are on strong ground. Indeed, following the decision of the Advocate General we are on even stronger ground than we appreciated when the litigation was crowdfunded. And that is the most important point. However, it would be foolish to underestimate Uber’s desire to hold on to what could very easily be £1bn of tax it has avoided and interest on that tax.
We will, of course, keep you updated as matters progress.