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The Foundation for Law, Justice and Society (FLJS) is an independent not-for-profit institution that aims to promote an understanding of the role of law in society. We identify and analyse issues of contemporary interest and importance, disseminating the insights of decision-makers and experts to a global audience through our extensive online resource of free-to-download Policy Briefings, Opinion Pieces, and multimedia podcasts.
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Legal and Regulatory Challenges of the Sharing Economy
This policy brief examines the issues raised by the emergence of huge companies such as Uber in the UK and Didi in China that operate in the so-called ‘sharing economy’. The business model of these companies represents a fundamental realignment of the relations between capital and labour, and raises questions about the liability for public safety, the need to preserve the jobs of traditional ‘offline’ operators, and the unfair use of consumers’ personal data.
The authors examine recent cases involving Uber and Transport for London which saw the company’s licence temprarily suspended, and the 2016 ruling in favour of two Uber drivers which recognized them as employees under UK employment law, rather than as independent contractors or self-employed.
The brief concludes that the rapid expansion and diversification of the sharing economy requires carefully crafted measures that can be implemented by existing regulatory bodies, or by new and alternative forms of regulators altogether.