May 21, 2020

In his judgment in R (on the application of Susan Fisher) v. Durham County Council [2020] EWHC 1277 (Admin) handed down in the Leeds District Registry on 21 May 2020, Julian Knowles J. has dismissed a challenge brought by Susan Fisher, a woman with a neurological disorder which causes her to make involuntary sounds and noises, including words and phrases, frequently at very loud volume, against the decision of my client Durham County Council to serve her with a abatement notice under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (“EPA 1990”).

The Judge has refused to grant permission to appeal.

I represented the local authority in resisting Ms Fisher's challenge.

The notice related to the statutory nuisance of noise Ms Fisher was causing from the premises in which she lived, a privately tenanted mid-terraced...

April 11, 2020

In the last few weeks this blog has been as guilty as others in unleashing a torrent of comment to respond to the torrent of regulations, guidance, practice directions and other verbiage as the legal world struggles to cope with COVD-19.

I'm afraid that isn't going to stop - when I find the time from moving every single object in my flat to a different place and then moving it back, whilst simultaneously ironing every shirt I own and making the entire contents of the "Good Housekeeping" cookbook like it's 1974, I am going to produce my long-promised second article on The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020, considering in particular the controversial question of enforcement powers.

But in the meantime, here is the pilot episode of "Coffee & Counsel", where myself...

March 26, 2020

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 came into force at 13.00 today.

This the law behind the “lockdown” announced by the Prime Minister on 24 March 2020 - essentially until now the lockdown has had no legal effect.

As I predicted, the Regulations are made not under the new Coronavirus Act 2020 but instead under the existing powers under s.45C of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984.

The Regulations have been made under the emergency procedure under s.45P without the need for Parliamentary approval.

They revoke and replace The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closure) (England) Regulations 2020 (“the first Regulations”) which closed down restaurants, cafes, pubs and other leisure venues on 21 March 2020 and about which I have previously written...

March 24, 2020

The Health Protection (Coronavirus: Closure of Leisure Businesses, Footpaths and Access Land) (Wales) Regulations 2020 come into force at 12.00 today. They require the closure of holiday sites, camping sites, amusement arcades and indoor play centres, and further seek to close footpaths crowded with persons who unwisely decamped to Wales for the period of the epidemic.

As is becoming clear, the Government is placing heavy reliance in its legislative management of this crisis on s.45C of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984. I predict that these provisions will be used for the regulations to enforce the so-called “lockdown”). 

Persons who carry on these businesses are responsible for closing them: regulation 2(1).  

As with the The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closure) (England)...

March 24, 2020


The vast majority of the adult population will have watched our Prime Minister Boris Johnson tell us all to stay in our homes wherever possible until further notice. The exceptions to that advice are:

  1. Shopping for basic necessities – to be undertaken as infrequently as possible.

  2. One form of exercise a day – run, walk, cycle, with social distancing firmly in mind

  3. For medical need or to provide care to a vulnerable person

  4. Travel to and from work, in the words of Mr Johnson “only where it is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home”

The full guidance on staying at home and away from others can be accessed here

March 23, 2020

The rent here may be low, but I believe we have it on very hard terms’, so said Marianne.

We are in lockdown. Italy has Italian tenors serenading neighbours, Spain has Spanish Police dancing in the streets and the UK is about to reveal its method of merriment in lockdown. One thing however is clear: most UK businesses will have no footfall through their doors. Cash flow – the lifeblood of any business – will be severely affected. What then of businesses unable to pay their rent? The Government (by way of amendments to the Coronavirus Bill) proposes to shield businesses from the immediate consequences of not paying rent.  

The right of a landlord to bring a business tenancy to an end – by way of re-entry or forfeiture –for non-payment of rent will now not be enforceable during the “relevant period”...

March 23, 2020

As the world moves rapidly online, and we learn wonderful new words like Zoom and PowWowNow and discover weird new places like Teams, licensing practitioners have been chewing over a thorny question of whether or not local authority meetings, including licensing sub-committee meetings can lawfully be undertaken online, given the provisions of Schedule 12 of the Local Government Act 1972 requiring votes to be taken by members “present” at a meeting.

This had previously been interpreted by government (in pre-COVID-19 days) as meaning they had to be physically present in a building.

My colleague Gary Grant argued persuasively in an article that licensing hearings were not affected by these provisions as s.9(3) of the Licensing Act 2003. That of course would not assist non-licensing hearings Gerald Gour...

March 21, 2020

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closure) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/327) (“the Regulations”) were made at 2pm today, 21 March 2020, under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 and come into force immediately. In a sign of the exceptionality of the situation, the Regulations have yet to be laid before Parliament (as permitted by s.45R of the Act): that will happen on Monday.

The Regulations are the means by which the Government gives effect (in England - see below for Wales) to the Prime Minister’s statement in a press conference yesterday 20 March 2020 that “We are collectively telling cafes, pubs, bars and restaurants to close tonight as soon as they reasonably can, and not to open tomorrow.”


The Regulations apply from the day they come into force...

March 19, 2020

“What licence do you need to deliver alcohol?” is a question that may be of sudden urgent interest to many operators.

The answer is of course a Licensing Act 2003 premises licence, which authorises premises to be used for the licensable activity of the sale of alcohol by retail, and which doesn’t contain any relevant restrictive conditions.

The premises licence will relate to a particular place: probably a convenience store, an off-licence or a pub or restaurant.

The premises licence must authorise the supply of alcohol for consumption off (or on and off) the premises. You can check this in a box on the second page of the licence.

Finally, there shouldn’t be any conditions that impose restrictions on deliveries. It is unusual for this to be the case.

To stay keep within the law, the alcohol sold has to...

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...

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Charles Holland - 

Licensing, chancery/commercial and property barrister.

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