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Brazil: Municipal Law Prohibiting Uber Ruled Unconstitutional

(Oct. 11, 2016) The Justice Tribunal of the State of São Paulo, Brazil, ruled unconstitutional municipal Law No. 16,279 of October 8, 2016, which prohibits the paid transportation of people to pre-established destinations in private vehicles that are registered with apps. (Lei No. 16.279 de 8 de Outubro de 2015, art. 1,  Municipal Assembly of São Paulo website.) The Law would have resulted in fines for using apps like Uber in the amount of BRL1,700 (about US$528) for the driver and the app company, confiscation of the vehicle, and other applicable sanctions.  (Elaine Patricia Cruz, TJ Considera Inconstitucional Lei Municipal que Proibia Uber em São Paulo, AGÊNCIA BRASIL (Oct. 5, 2016).)

Judge Francisco Casconi, who wrote the opinion, questioned whether a municipal law could ban paid transport of passengers arranged by private drivers through an app, and answered in the negative.  He also observed that “the fact is that this new technology implemented through applications – either for individual private transport or for taxis – has enhanced the forms of urban mobility, especially for those who use individual transport more often.” (Id.)