File image: IOL.
INTERNATIONAL - Uber will defend its right to operate in London in court next year after the app was deemed unfit to run a taxi service and stripped of its licence in its most important European market.

Regulator Transport for London shocked the Silicon Valley firm by rejecting its licence-renewal bid in September, citing its approach to reporting serious criminal offences and conducting background checks on drivers.

Uber’s 40000 drivers, representing about one in three of all private-hire vehicles on London’s roads, can continue to take passengers until the appeals process is exhausted, which could take years.

At a case-management hearing yesterday, the chief magistrate at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, Emma Arbuthnot, said she hoped to hear the appeal over five days from April 30, although the start date could be pushed back because of scheduling clashes.

Further hearings will take place next week to decide whether the GMB trade union and the London Taxi Drivers’ Association can participate in the case.

Months of further legal wrangling are likely unless the app can come to a new arrangement with the regulator.