Calling for a review

 

Once the Second Appointed Day has arrived the old liquor and public entertainment licences will cease to be valid and the new premises licences (or club premises certificate for qualifying clubs such as political clubs, working men’s clubs, British Legion clubs etc.) will come into effect. At any time from that date you can call for the licence to be reviewed if you are an interested party living or working in the vicinity.

 

Again the licensing authority will have to decide if your representation is relevant to the 4 licensing objectives and that it is not frivolous or vexatious. In addition you must be careful that it is not dismissed because it is defined as repetitious. Repetitious objections according to the Ministerial Guidance are likely to be judged as those made on the same grounds as an earlier objection and which are made within a year of the earlier objection unless there are compelling reasons to rehear the case.

 

Reviewing the licence is a powerful potential sanction against a premises that is causing problems because the licensing authority can decide to impose new conditions, restrict hours, capacity and activities or even revoke the licence altogether. These can have huge impacts on a business’s ability to trade successfully so most sensible licence holders will take very seriously any legitimate concerns you have about the way they are running their premises.

 

Reviews can be initiated by responsible authorities and interested parties so if the premises in question is causing you problems it is worth while, depending on what the problem is, contacting the relevant responsible authority and getting their views. They may be prepared to join you in calling for a review if they feel there is compelling evidence.

 

This is the nub of reviews – the evidence. Gathering clear and factual evidence over time, which demonstrates the problems you are experiencing is at the heart of presenting a successful case. See the gathering evidence section. Collect your evidence before you actually write in to request a review otherwise you may find that the licence holder having warning of the review may drastically change their behaviour and undermine your case.

 

You should be certain that the information you provide to the local authority relates to one or more of the licensing objectives (e.g. preventing public nuisance), is factual and is not a one off problem but something that keeps recurring. It is also helpful to all sides if you can be clear at the outset what the outcome is that you are seeking. Do you really want the licence completely revoked or would another type of restriction or condition deal with the problem(s) that you are experiencing?

 

If you are concerned about the general level of crime and disorder or public nuisance in your area but are finding it impossible to lay the blame at the door of one specific premises simply because there are just too many licensed premises in the area and it is difficult to find where the people causing the trouble are coming from you can try to call for reviews of a number of premises at once.

 

For this to stand any chance of succeeding you need to be very clear and focused on what the problem is and define the area it occurs in, the type of premises and the opening hours and activities that relate to the problem carefully. Applying to review all licensed premises in a London borough and asking that they all close at ten pm so that you can get a better night’s sleep just wouldn’t work.

 

But, if you have evidence that crime levels have risen in an area after a certain hour and that this coincides with a number of premises having been granted longer opening hours then you could consider gathering evidence for a review of the licences of all premises that are open at that hour to ask for additional conditions or restricted hours to tackle a problem that is area wide. You may well need help from a body such as a residents association to do this and also to get the views of the relevant responsible authority.

 

Procedure for calling for and holding a Hearing

Where there has been a relevant objection to an application a hearing must be held within 20 working days from the day after the end of the period for making representations.

 

If you are someone who has made a representation you must be given notice of the time date and place of the hearing not less than 5 working days before the proposed date of the hearing. If you can’t make that date, for example can’t get time off work, inform the licensing authority and they may agree to change the date within the 20 working day timetable to one more suitable to you. It may also be prepared to adjourn the hearing until a date can be found which is suitable to you if they feel that it is in the public interest to do so. (But in the case of hearings during the transitional period if there is such an adjournment it cannot be used if it delays a decision beyond 2 months so as to treat an conversion application as granted or a variation application refused).

 

If you cannot attend or someone represent you in your place then all you can do is send in written, taped or video evidence to amplify the representation that you made initially. This should not prejudice your case but obviously you lose the chance to state your case in person and also ask questions of the applicant (or his/her representative). Remember in submitting any additional material you cannot raise entirely new representations in addition to those you first made but only amplify and clarify points.

 

In addition to being notified of time date and place you should receive information setting out the procedure to be followed at the hearing and any particular points that the licensing authority will want clarification about.

If on reflection you don’t think attending in person is really necessary then tell the licensing authority that you are prepared to dispense with a hearing. They will tell the applicant and if they and the licensing authority itself also agree they will notify you and the licensing authority will decide the matter on the basis of the written representations within 10 working days of notifying you.

 

Finally, you can always withdraw the representation you have made, either not less than 24 hours before the hearing or even at the hearing itself. This effectively ends the hearing if you were the only one objecting and the licence will be granted or if it was to be a review hearing there will be no change to the applicants’ licence.

Licensing Act - 2003