Licensing

Overview

Chambers has extensive experience in dealing with a wide range of licensing matters including premises, alcohol and entertainment licensing, gambling, vehicle and vehicle operators ,sexual entertainment venues, taxi licensing, firearms, houses in multiple occupation and the security industry.

Members provide incisive advice and persuasive advocacy in respect of applications at first instance at sub-committee level and appeals to all levels of courts. Acting for licensing authorities, responsible authorities and venues/operators in the Midlands and beyond, our team prides itself on its practical approach, drawing on its wider experience across the regulatory spectrum to provide advice that is pragmatic, considered and commercially aware.

Alcohol and Entertainment

The licensing team is regularly instructed nationwide by pub, nightclub and hotel owners and operators that are trying to expand or protect their estates by applications for new premises licenses, extending premises licenses or protecting them from review.

Members of the team also act for local authorities and the Police and are sensitive to the particular and distinct roles that each party plays in the licensing process as well as the occasional need to engage counsel at very short notice in response to urgent applications.

Issues arising are wide and varied.  Recent instructions have included the operation of nightclubs, off-licenses and convenience stores, a shisha lounge, considerations of the impact of the Equality Act upon SEV licensing considerations and involvement in Judicial Review proceedings arising from the forced closure of premises following an incident of disorder.

Taxi Licensing

We frequently act on behalf of taxi drivers, operators and local authorities at sub-committee level and in the Magistrates’ and Crown Courts in respect of the suspension and revocation of existing licences and the refusal to grant a licence.

We are also instructed to prosecute and defend private hire drivers in the Magistrates’ Court alleged to be ‘plying for hire’ and on behalf of appellant drivers and respondent local authorities in Crown Court appeals against conviction. We have also been involved in matters concerning the prosecution of drivers accused of discrimination against disabled passengers contrary to the Equality Act.

Such is the depth of our expertise in this field, we have been instructed to advise licensing authorities on their policies pertaining to drivers with criminal convictions and upon their dealings with web-based ridesharing organisations.

Houses in Multiple Occupation

With increasing frequency, members of the team are receiving instructions to advise and represent landlords and local authorities in respect of applications to the Residential Property First Tier Tribunal relating to Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs).  Additionally, we have experience of prosecuting and defending enforcement actions pursued against landlords in the criminal courts for operating HMOs without licences and for alleged breaches of notices or orders.