Thursday, August 31, 2017

CO Powers, TfL Advertising Policy And The TAXI Newspaper .... Follow Up From Vaughan Williams.


Since my last article I have received some interesting information.

Some time ago I wrote to the Advertising Standards Authority asking them whether a newspaper sitting in a cab constituted an advertisement. I have just received a reply, which states :

" we ... advise that the material would only be considered an ad and subject to the CAP if a marketer had paid for the content to be placed there ".

This undermines, as I suspected, TfL's ability to use the London Cab Order of 1934, which according to the TfL Advertising Guidelines themselves says :

" the licensee shall not ... ( basically other than in accordance with TfL guidelines ) ...permit any ... printed matter ... to be displayed ... or presented to the customer by way of advertising "

As the ASA ( and they should know ) does not consider the TAXI newspaper headline as advertising unless the licensee has been paid for displaying it, then this section looks like it is not applicable.

Which leaves TfL leaning heavily on its general powers given by the GLA Act 1999 :

" to do such things as are calculated to facilitate , or are conducive to, the discharge of its functions. "

So as we have dismissed the silly " misbehaviour " argument, it is only under the TfL Advertising Guidelines, which are allegedly issued under those powers, that TfL may attempt to act against a driver displaying a newspaper. You may recall that " information presented to passengers " is included within " taxi advertising " in those Guidelines.

The Human Rights Act 1998 , Article 10 , states that :

" everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority ".

So TfL is open to legal attack on the basis that telling people they can't make " negative references to TfLs services " is :

1) nothing to do with TfL's capacity to " discharge its functions " , so the Guidelines are ultra vires in this area
and
2) a breach of the HRA 1998, so ineffective

So the above, combined with the requirement for written notice and reasons included in my previous article, would appear to render TfL's position in this area at least rather dubious !

As before, I don't pretend to be a lawyer, these are a layman's interpretations, so I accept no liability etc.

2 comments:

Alan Fisher said...

I used to fear the PCO - but I never mistrusted them. Sadly, the longer TfL continue, the more I mistrust them - and that includes a Mayor who seems to care about his own image far more than he does of the taxi trade. Both he and his predecessor, Big BoJo cared little about us and make their predecessor, Cuddly Ken, seem like an angel...

Anonymous said...

Do we really need a mayor I think not