21st Century Legal Challenge: “Uberization” of the Economy

Siwar AlMashal

Paris Descartes University


pp. 1-25

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Abstract: The size and scale of technology-driven businesses such as Uber, Airbnb, and several others continue to surpass some of the world’s largest corporations. In September 2016, Airbnb was estimated to be worth 30 Billion dollars –more than the publicly traded Hilton Worldwide with a market value of 23.33 Billion. While the use of these applications is increasingly becoming an unavoidable and necessary part of our daily lives, these new forms of companies are taking advantage of the lack of legal framework. The article describes and analyzes this “grey” legal area, which raises issues particularly in matters of labor law, tax law and civil and criminal liability. In this regard, they are subject to heavy scrutiny from (1) their traditional counterparts for illegal and unfair competition, (2) their employees for the lack of employment rights and benefits, (3) states in which they operate for fiscal evasion and (4) the public for their lack of liability. After studying, analyzing and comparing the French and American legal systems as well as the way both countries tackle the various legal issues around this new form of business transactions, it is hoped that the selection of these two jurisdictions could represent a wide enough spectrum to be able to determine whether legislators would need to create a new set of rules or whether they should implement the same legislation applicable to their traditional counterparts. Accordingly, throughout this article, we will see that adapting existing legislation to these new forms of companies would guarantee fair competition with their traditional counterparts. However, if this adaptation is considered, it should not be applicable to civil and criminal liability, where a shared liability must be established between the provider and the platform-based company.

Keywords : Comparative Law, Tax Law, Labor law, Civil and Criminal Liability, Common Law, French Law, US Law, Uber, AirBnb, Platforms, Digital Revolution.

Mrs. Siwar AlMashal is a Jordanian Lawyer qualified in France with specialization in International Arbitration. The author can be contacted at siwar.almashal@gmail.com

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