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Addison Lee’s bus lane challenge rejected


Mr Justice Burton today gave judgment dismissing Addison Lee's challenge to the policy of allowing black cabs, but not, minicabs to use London bus lanes.

Addison Lee brought proceedings for judicial review challenging penalty charge notices issued to two of its vehicles for contravention of bus lane regulations. It argued that the bus lane policy gave an unfair advantage to black cabs, which competed with minicabs for pre-booked passengers, and that the distinction between black cabs and minicabs was contrary to EU and domestic law.

The court held that the effect of Article 58 TFEU was that Article 56 TFEU had no application in the field of transport; and the freedom to provide transport services was not engaged because neither black cabs nor minicabs were the subject of legislation under Title VI. Article 49 was not engaged either.

The court accepted Addison Lee's argument that the EU law principle of equal treatment was engaged, so it was necessary to consider whether the policy was justified under the relevant test (as well as by the domestic-law rationality standard).

However, whatever test was applied, the policy was justified because black cabs, which had the right to ply for hire, had a need to use the bus lanes whereas minicabs did not.

Finally, the policy did not give rise to a State aid within the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU.

The judgment is here.

Marie Demetriou QC and Kelyn Bacon appeared for Addison Lee, instructed by Maitland Walker. Martin Chamberlain and Sarah Love appeared for Transport for London, instructed directly by TFL.