The European Court of Justice has ruled that Uber is not merely an online platform but provides a transport service, because of the underlying services it offers. The judgment could have consequences for the employment status of Uber drivers.

According to the judgment of the Court of Justice on 20 December 2017, Uber customers only use the online platform for one purpose: transportation from one place to another. Bringing the ‘user’ into contact with the Uber driver is a preparatory phase, ensuring the main service supplied (transport) is provided under the best possible conditions.

As a result of this ruling, Uber will be subject to national regulation governing the transportation industry, including any requirement to obtain authorisations and licences to run a taxi business that may be applicable.

Although the Court did not rule on the employment relationship between Uber and its drivers explicitly, the judgment is expected to have an impact on their status in at least some European jurisdictions. Depending on national employment law rules, currently self-employed Uber drivers could be redefined as employees for the purposes of employment and social security legislation.