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Uber braced for landmark court ruling that could see it evade strict laws

Is Uber a digital service or a transport company? This is the question European judges will answer later this week as Uber looks to prove it is a digital company and so exempt from strict laws that govern regular transport businesses.

Uber will argue to a European Union Court of Justice – made up of 15 judges – that it is a digital service that connects drivers with passengers rather than a transportation firm. Should the court rule for the latter then it could set the precedent for whether other app based businesses should be excused from tough regulation that governs other regular businesses.

Uber, which launched in Europe five years ago, has come under fire from traditional taxi firms and some local authorities, who are concerned that the business has been allowed to grow unfairly because it is not governed by local licensing, insurance and safety rules.

It builds on the concerns held by Barcelona’s main taxi operator, which filed a lawsuit against Uber in 2014, alleging that the company was running an illegal service. The case was aimed at the firm’s ride-sharing service UberPop, which it pulled following the lawsuit.