The sharing economy and the law: Food for European lawyers

While the rise of platforms allowing for the sale of goods by commercial parties was openly embraced by society, the rise of platforms such as Uber and Airbnb, allowing non-professionals to offer services, has given rise to quite some social and legal consternation. In many cities, taxi drivers have engaged in vigorous protests against Uber, and in particular its application UberPop, which allows non-professional and non-licensed drivers to carry out taxi services. Equally, the hotel sector complains about unfair competition by private persons off ering accommodation via Airbnb, without having to respect the stringent rules applicable to hotels. The official responses of the European Union Member States vis-à-vis this turmoil have diff ered. While the UK quickly saw the advantages of the ‘new economy’ created via internet platforms, 2 other Member States (initially) 3 took a more critical stance. Courts and sectoral regulators in several Member States such as Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Germany prohibited at least certain Uber services and/or imposed (criminal) sanctions o Uber drivers.

Cauffman, C. and Smits, J. (2016), 'The sharing economy and the law: Food for European lawyers', Maastricht journal of European and comparative law, 23(6), pp. 903-907.


  • Uber, Airbnb
  • transport, accommodation
  • On-location client-determined routine work, On-location platform-determined routine work
  • EU28
  • 2016
  • Research publication
  • competition, legal issues
  • English
  • Maastricht journal of European and comparative law (Publisher)
  • Qualitative research
  • Subscription
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