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Wakefield taxi fee case back in court Published Date: 02/12/2019

The ongoing legal battle involving taxi fees in Wakefield has reached the Court of Appeal.

Last year the High Court handed down its judgement in the case of Rehman/Wakefield & PH Association, R (on the application of) v Wakefield Council [2018] EWHC 3664. His Honour Judge Saffman, sitting as a deputy judge of the High Court, quashed the fees set by the council as it included irrelevant considerations.

HHJ Saffman held that Wakefield had wrongly interpreted section 70 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.

In setting the fee Wakefield took into account as "costs in connection with the control and supervision of hackney carriages and private hire vehicles" the costs incurred by the council in enforcing action against drivers for such things as speeding, smoking in the taxi, dressing inappropriately, parking badly, using mobile phones, carrying excess passengers, not permitting the carrying of an assistance dog, inappropriate dress and various uncivil and/or illegal conduct. (“the Activities”)

The Local Government Lawyer reporting on the appeal case said HHJ Saffman said it seemed to him that the costs of enforcement in relation to these activities inevitably related to the activities of drivers rather than vehicles.

The judge added that it was “clear that Section 70(1)(c) [of the Local Government Act 1970] relates to the supervision and control of hackney carriages and private hire vehicles, not the supervision and control of drivers and enforcement steps in relation to the Activities in my view clearly relate to the activities of the driver, not the vehicle. That must be so even though it is the drivers that drive those vehicles.” [judge’s emphasis]

The Local Government Association is reported to have supported Wakefield Council in bringing the appeal.

The appeal judgement is yet to be delivered.