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...
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...
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...
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...
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.
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...
Here is the scenario: a local authority licences a hackney carriage or private hire driver. The authority becomes aware of that a serious allegation has been made against the driver: say a sexual assault upon a passenger. A criminal investigation is underway; the driver has been arrested, has exercised his right to silence (on legal advice), and has been released on police bail and is yet to be charged; the passenger’s identity is being kept secret. Can the local authority immediately suspend the driver’s licence pending investigations, with a full hearing to take place at a later date, when it can consider whether to revoke the licence?
Until the case of R. (on the application of Singh and others) v. Cardiff City Council  EHWC 1852 (Admin) it was thought that the answer was yes, it could.