Judgement in Case C-320/16 – Uber France

Author (Corporate)
Series Title
Series Details C-320/16
Publication Date April 2018
Content Type

Further information:

According to the CJEU, Member States may prohibit and punish, as a matter of criminal law, the illegal exercise of transport activities in the context of the UberPop service, without notifying the Commission in advance of the draft legislation laying down criminal penalties for the exercise of such activities

Background information:

The request for a preliminary hearing has been made in proceedings before a criminal court in a private prosecution and civil action brought against Uber France SAS, in relation to the illegal organisation of a system for putting non-professional drivers using their own vehicle in contact with persons who wish to make urban journeys.

The French company Uber France provides, by means of a smartphone application, a service called UberPop, through which it puts non-professional drivers using their own vehicle in contact with persons who wish to make urban journeys.

Uber France is a defendant before that court in a private prosecution and civil action brought by Mr Nabil Bensalem in relation to misleading commercial practices, the aiding and abetting of the unlawful exercise of the profession of taxi driver, and the unlawful organisation of a system for putting customers in contact with persons carrying passengers by road for remuneration using vehicles with fewer than 10 seats.

As regards the offence of the unlawful organisation of a system for putting customers in contact with non-professional drivers, an offence under the code des transports (Transport Code), the tribunal de grande instance de Lille was uncertain as to whether that provision should be regarded as establishing a ‘rule on Information Society services’ within the meaning of Directive 98/34, the non-notification of which means that it is unenforceable against individuals, or as a rule on ‘services in the field of transport’.

+ Asociación Profesional Elite Taxi (C‑434/15, EU:C:2017:981), December 2017

The Court found that the intermediation service provided by the company concerned was linked to the offer by that company of non-public urban transport services; that company provided an application without which those drivers would not have been led to provide transport services, and the persons who wished to make an urban journey would not have used the services provided by those drivers and also that company exercised decisive influence over the conditions under which services were provided by those drivers.

The Court ruled that a provision of national law that lays down criminal penalties for the organisation of a system for putting customers in contact with persons carrying passengers by road for remuneration using vehicles with fewer than 10 seats, without being authorised to do so, cannot be classified as an 'information society service' (with the consequence that it is not subject to the obligation of prior notification to the Commission), but it concerns a ‘service in the field of transport’ in so far as it applies to an intermediation service that is provided by means of a smartphone application and forms an integral part of an overall service the principal element of which is the transport service.

In deciding so, the Court followed the Opinion of Advocate General Szpunar, according to whom Member States may prohibit and punish, as a matter of criminal law, the illegal exercise of transport activities in the context of the UberPop service, without notifying the Commission of the draft law in advance.

The Court of Justice of the European Union published on 10 April 2018 its Judgement on Case C-320/16 Uber France.

Source Link http://curia.europa.eu/juris/liste.jsf?&&num=c-320/16
Related Link(s)
CJEU: Opinion of the Advocate General in the case C-320/16 Uber France [July 2017] https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2017-07/cp170072en.pdf
CJEU: Press Release: Judgment of the Court of Justice in Case C-320/16 Uber France https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/jcms/p1_953233/en/
EurActiv, 10.04.2018: Uber loses EU court case against French criminal charges https://www.euractiv.com/section/future-of-mobility/news/uber-loses-eu-court-case-against-french-criminal-charges/
Euronews, 10.04.18: Uber suffers another legal blow http://www.euronews.com/2018/04/10/uber-suffers-another-legal-blow
EuObserver, 10.04.18: EU court rules France was allowed to fine Uber https://euobserver.com/tickers/141557
Indepedent, 10.04.2018: Uber ride-sharing ban in France backed by EU's top court https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/uber-france-ban-uberpop-ride-sharing-eu-court-justice-a8298126.html
The Telegraph, 10.04.18: Uber boss admits 'we lost sight of our drivers' https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2018/04/10/frances-uber-ban-stands-eu-court-defeat-ride-hailing-app/

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