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...