A Blast From The Past : TfL's Cut Price Legal Team By Jim Thomas
Friday, December 14, 2012, TfL issued another meaningless notice
The Mayor Boris Johnson, will be seeking ban on dangerous pedicabs
• the Mayor’s call was supported by businesses and safety campaigners • these unsafe pedicab Vehicles have a disproportionate effect on congestion, with drivers frequently arrested for obstruction and dangerous driving
The Mayor and Transport for London (TfL) called for a change to legislation that would allow them to effectively ban dangerous pedicabs in the capital.
So what happened back then. What stopped the Mayor and his legal eagles going after pedicabs ?
Rickshaw driver Juris Dzjabovic charged tourists £206 for mile-long trip
He insisted it was fair because he was pedalling uphill along Oxford Street
Russian claimed he arrived in the UK seven days ago on a tourist visa
Police officer told driver he was 'exploiting tourists' and 'ripping them off'
If Mr Dzjabovic is here on a Tourist Visa he should not be working.
Why haven't the UK Boarder Agency arrested and deported him ?
How many more rickshaw riders are ripping off tourists while illegally working on a tourist or student visa ?
Over to you Boris
Boris, giving his wife a backsie
So Where Did It All Fall Down?
Under project Horizon, priorities at TfL's Victoria based HQ shifted dramatically, panels scrutinised and the floodgates for more change were firmly wedged open.
TfL set about streamlining its legal Panel, announcing in October 2012 that it would be cutting outside legal consultancies, from 12 to 11 firms. Not too drastic you'd think, but at the same time replacing the elite Bird & Bird, Clifford Chance, Manches and Travers Smith with a cheaper alternative set; Lewis Silkin, SNR Denton (now Dentons) and Trowers & Hamlin.
Director of Legal at TfL Angrea Clark
“We are keen to have firms that appreciate the challenges we face,” (legal speak for cheap) added Andrea Clarke, director of legal at Transport for London. “We look for people who take a pragmatic and collaborative approach.”
TfL shaved the areas in which it employed the help of external lawyers to purely commercial projects, property, employment and litigation matters.
All this fat trimming reduced external spend to between £12m and £15m per year, a saving of approx £3m a year.
But when you plump for cheap, it comes at a cost as TfL was soon to find out.
2012 also saw the defeat of TfL's legal team by Diamond Chauffeurs ltd.
Even after the company were caught blatantly on film touting, TfL's cut price team lost to a high court appeal and just left it at that.
After waiting almost twelve years to get a water tight, open and shut case against a PH operator openly touting outside a satellite office (licensed or otherwise), the then Director and Deputy Director of LTPH, set their sights on Diamond Chauffeurs Ltd.
Unfortunately, their cut price legal team subsequently lost the "open and shut case".
Observers at the hearing was stunned by TfL's legal team's lack of preparation.
This was the turning point:
Little phased by the effect on the Taxi trade in general, TfL now operate a more loose approach to PH licensing, as we now are starting to find out to our cost.
Issues abound, such as the ease in which Uber became and stays licensed. Also back in 2012, RD2's acquired multiple license variations (satellite office licenses), without the requirement of being in business for the minimum period under TfL policy.
After a series of lies about RD.2 (from the ex Director of LTPH) were disproved, TfL finally changed their stance and stated it is not a legal requirement, but just guidelines.
-RD2.com received all their licence variations on the same day they registered as a brand new operator.
This unit of 76 lawyers plus top TfL management Howard Carter, have now looked at the running of American company Uber and so far, can't decided between themselves if this company is operating legally or not and have had to seek judicial opinion, which (in our opinion) they will loose.
In all the years as administrator to the Taxi and Private Hire trade, and with their hand picked (cheap) team of 76 lawers plus 11 outside legal consultants, TfL have only ever publicised one victory against a PH driver (who incidentally, pleaded guilty) for illegally plying for hire.
Every now and then the carefully prepared script is rolled out by someone from TfL giving the amount of arrests for touting since 2011.
But they never give the amount of convictions!
Fact is the totally number of convictions is just a minute fraction of the arrests, most of whom are given a verbal warning or they contest the charge and get off. Either way, very few actually get their livcence revoked.
That's the trouble with lawers, they don't come cheap. You pay peanuts...you get monkeys.
The only problem facing minicabs touts today, is where to illegally ply for hire from.
The choice seems endless as LTPH have dished out satellite office licenses like sweets to hungry kids.
As for touting detection and arrest, a minicab driver has more chance of winning the Nationsl Lottery than being done for illegally plying for hire, FACT.
£15m per year of tax payers money, 76 lawyers, 11 outside legal consultants and in Leon Daniels own words, they've had to ask someone smarter.