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Appeal against decision of Licensing Committee

What are the timescales and what is the procedure?

Q:  I run a busy town centre nightclub.  A couple of months ago there was an incident just outside our premises where someone was unfortunately stabbed.  The Police were called and it was dealt with professionally from the Club’s perspective.  The Police then applied to the Magistrates for a Closure Order but the Magistrates did not grant it saying that the incident had had nothing to do with the management of our premises.  A few weeks later the Police applied for a Review of our premises licence and although we had agreed some conditions with the Police beforehand the Licensing Committee nonetheless cut back our terminal hour by two hours!  This will kill off our business.  What can I do?

A:  It seems you have little choice but to Appeal against the decision which the Licensing Committee made.  This must be done within 21 days of the Committee’s decision being notified to you in writing.

The process is long and drawn out and will undoubtedly be costly.  It nonetheless provides you with an opportunity to run the Club well in the meantime as when the Magistrates come to make their decision they are able to take into account fresh evidence from the period between the Review hearing and the Appeal.

Assuming that you have no incidents of note in the meantime it may be possible to put pressure on the Local Authority to agree a compromise deal with you especially since the Police were not asking for the reduced terminal hour in the first place.  It can be pointed out to the Local Authority that they may be at risk of a costs award against them in the event that they lose the Appeal.  Should the matter proceed all the way to a hearing then it will undoubtedly take a few days in Court to deal with the matter and you and any relevant staff members will need to be ready to give evidence.  You should instruct a good lawyer to deal with this on your behalf.

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