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...

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...

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Charles Holland - 

Licensing, chancery/commercial and property barrister.

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