Gathering evidence

 

The simplest but often most effective piece of evidence in complaints about a single premises is to keep a log of what the problems are. List the date and time they occur and brief details of what happens. If you keep this over a reasonable number of weeks it is then more difficult for a licence holder to try to explain to the councilors at the hearing that it was a temporary or ‘one off’ problem and that it won’t occur again.

 

If you can get other people to also keep logs or sign to verify your log, that helps to show that it is not just you and that other people share your concerns and that you do not have an unsubstantiated or irrational grudge against the premises. The trick is to be precise in showing that the problems you are experiencing really relate to the premises you are complaining about and not either another premises or problems in the area generally, which the licence holder is not responsible for.

 

If the problem is about noise and you have a tape recorder you can always make recordings and ask that they be played at the hearing to demonstrate the problem. If you have a camera especially a digital or movie one and you are able to provide photos or movie clips, again this can demonstrate the problem. As they say ‘a picture tells a thousand words’.

NOTE If you do make tape recordings, take photos or make videos make sure that the licensing authority is prepared to accept them as part of your evidence and if you want to refer to them or play them at the hearing make sure they will allow this AND that they have the facilities to do so. It is very frustrating to collect evidence in this way and then find it can’t be presented or the technology lets you down.

 

If you know of a local amenity society or residents’ group contact them for advice. They may be able help you prepare your case or at least point out some of the things to say and not to say! Also if you do so early enough may also submit a representation, provided it is within the 20 working days deadline. Try finding your local group at www.civictrust.org.uk or www.ncvo-vol.org.uk

Licensing Act - 2003