December 10, 2019

Those with an interest in taxi licensing fee regimes (yes, they do exist) have been waiting for the Court of Appeal’s ruling in R (oao Rehman) v. Wakefield City Council [2018] EWHC 3664 (Admin) with the sort of baited breath Loonquawi and Phouchg had as Deep Thought was about to deliver the results of his 7.5m year cogitation as to the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything.

The Court of Appeal's decision R (oao Rehman) v. Wakefield City Council [2019] EWCA Civ 2166 was handed down today.

At first instance, the case touched (although did not directly engage) the curious differences between the provisions of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 relating to the fee setting regimes for - on the one hand - driver’s licences, and - on the other hand...

November 21, 2019

Here are the slides from my talk on Phoenix Companies delivered at Trinity Chambers' business and property seminar on 20 November 2019.

As covered in the talk, the proposed HMRC anti-phoenixing measures can be found here:

November 21, 2019

This article appears in the November 2019 issue of the Journal of Licensing. The Court of Appeal are due to hear the appeal in R (Rehman) v Wakefield Council in Leeds on 26 November 2019. An update will follow after the handing down of judgment in that appeal.

Like dark matter, fees are found throughout the licensing universe. The most rudimentary scheme requires applications to be processed and licences to be issued. In many regimes, regulators conduct resource-intensive enforcement activities against both licensed and non-licensed entities. All this has to be paid for. The charging of fees to applicants and licence-holders has long been the first port of call for recoupment of those expenses.

Fee regimes do not lack for ingenuity, nor (sometimes) for ambition. Replacement lanyard for your Stockton...

October 27, 2019

This article first appeared in the Journal of Licensing, October 2018

“Don’t take too seriously all that the neighbours say. Don’t be overawed by what the experts say. Don’t be afraid to trust your own common sense”

- Benjamin Spock, Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care (1945)

The Good Old Days?

I remember the first time I saw an expert report in a licensing case. It thumped down on the bench in front of me at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court, just as its author made his way to the witness box to give evidence. Following a short in-chief confirmation of the report’s content (that there was no demand for my client’s proposed off-licence), it was my turn to cross-examine. No notice had been given that an expert was to be called. The year was 1996; the rule seemed to be that, when it came to licensing, there w...

October 3, 2019

Having posted my Journal of Licensing article on licensing costs on this blog yesterday, I am grateful to David Dadds of Dadds LLP Solicitors for reminding me that since that article appeared in July’s issue, the High Court has confirmed in the case of Aldemir v. Cornwall Council [2019] EWHC 2407 (Admin) that magistrates do have jurisdiction under s.181 of the Licensing Act 2003 to make costs orders against non-parties to licensing appeals.

A company, Eden Bar Newquay Limited (“EBNL”) held a premises licence in respect of (you guessed it) the Eden Bar in Newquay. At the material time the premises were owned by Mr Memet Aldemir. He leased those premises to EBNL (whose sole shareholder and director was his brother, Nimetullah, a resident of Cyprus). Mr Aldemir owned the fixtures and fittings of the b...

October 2, 2019

What follows is an article I wrote for the July 2019 issue of Journal of Licensing. I look at the principles underlying the award of costs, and how they apply to licensing appeals. 


For much of the time, licensing is a “safe space” so far as costs are concerned.

In most “first instance” licensing tribunals - such as local authority licensing sub-committees, the typical common law principle that costs “following the event” does not apply.

So, when a party decides to participate in a licensing case, whether as an applicant or an objector, there is generally no risk that if unsuccessful, it will have to pay the legal costs of any other party: what are known as “adverse costs”.

Adverse costs risk is a strong disincentive to participation in legal proceedings. Even allowing for his characterist...

March 7, 2019

Here is the (very long) series of slide for a talk I delivered to the IOL - North-East meeting today.

October 13, 2018

A recent direct access instruction from a client who found himself grappling with the Financial Ombudsman raised some technical but nonetheless interesting and potentially important issues on the financial limits to the joint liability provisions in the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

S.75(1) of the 1974 Act entitles a debtor under a debtor-creditor-supplier agreement who has, in relation to a transaction financed by the agreement, any claim against the supplier in respect of a misrepresentation or breach of contract, to bring a like claim against the creditor.

This is a very useful section where the supplier goes bust - if payment was made on finance (including a credit card) then the consumer can make a claim against the finance company for the defaults of the supplier. So in my client's case, he had pa...

August 13, 2018

I recently represented the Leather Cap Club, one of the few remaining clubs in Easington Colliery, on a review of its club premises certificate and premises licence. The review was brought by a neighbour, and the police submitted a supporting representation. An agreement was reached with the police to surrender the premises licence and to add further conditions to the club premises certificate. The neighbour persisted with representations that the club should be closed, but these were rejected by the licensing authority. The full reasons of the committee are available here.

I was instructed by Sarah Smith of Sintons Solicitors LLP.

August 13, 2018

In a comprehensive reserved judgment running to some 68,500 words over 118 pages (excluding appendices), District Kate Judge Meek sitting at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court has dismissed the appeal of a trade objector against the grant of a premises licence to Stack, a “pop up” shopping mall with food-led and wet-led provision and an events space in central Newcastle. The appeal was brought by Endless Stretch Limited, the landlord of Harry's Bar and a corporate vehicle of longstanding Newcastle operator and Monaco resident, Joe Robertson.

The judgment will make interesting reading to licensing practitioners given the sheer range of issues the Judge was asked to deal with (helpfully set out in her judgment at paragraph 3, page 8), many of which have an interest beyond (to use a phrase from the expert r...

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Charles Holland - 

Licensing, chancery/commercial and property barrister.

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