Published: 15 November 2013 by James Anderson
A High Court decision last week has confirmed that a magistrates’ court on appeal from the decision of a Licensing Committee must take that decision into account and must only reverse it if it is satisfied that it is wrong.
The case involved a nightclub in Westminster; Westminster’s Licensing Committee on a review application brought by the Police imposed a number of conditions and the operator appealed against three.
The Appeal was refused by the magistrates’ court but then challenged by way of judicial review. The High Court dismissed the application.
Interestingly, and perhaps rather worryingly for operators who have received a harsh decision at Committee, the High Court did not interfere even though on two of the three conditions the Licensing Committee did not give any reasons. The High Court supported the Judge who effectively supplied his own reasons and commented that the conditions were ‘proportionate’ and that a realistic alternative would have been to revoke the premises licence.
I suspect that operators will have to rely more on wholly unreasonable decisions possibly combined with a period of problem free trading to persuade the Magistrates’ Court that the original decision ‘is’ now wrong.
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