£50,000 cost order after taxi court case

Taxi driver Andy Kay with his taxi showing the labelling.
Taxi driver Andy Kay with his taxi showing the labelling.

A taxi driver who took Lancaster City Council to court over the word “taxi” printed on her vehicle has lost her case.

Elleran Willcock has been ordered to pay £52,500 in court costs after a judge ruled she was wrong in objecting to the council’s request to remove the word.

But Elleran’s partner Peter Hobart said the couple were now hoping to appeal against the decision, after getting support from the National Private Hire Association, who said they would be taking the matter on.

Bryan Rowland, the association’s general secretary said he was shocked by Judge David Waksman QC’s ruling at the High Court in Manchester on Thursday, and has demanded a full copy of his decision.

He added: “She bought the car with the signage on it, and the council licensed it seven times, then out of the blue they say ‘you’ve got it wrong, get it off’.

“It’s obscene behaviour. If they’re going to suddenly change things, surely they have a requirement to tell people properly.”

It is claimed the powers the council used to order the removal were incorrect.

Mr Hobart said: “This makes a total mockery of democracy. We’ve done nothing wrong and it should never have come this far.

“There should be some kind of middle ground we can work towards with the council.”

City council chief executive Mark Cullinan said: “I agree this matter need never have gone to court.

“The council tried on numerous occasions to get this matter settled in advance of court but the claimant insisted on going to court.”