Comments from Chambers and Partners legal guide 2018
Clare Eames acts for blue-chip restaurant chains, pub companies and prominent venues on a range of licensing concerns. According to impressed clients, “she brings the solution rather than the problem; she makes life easy for us."
Sources particularly applaud her skills in contentious proceedings: "You need someone strong to bat things back and keep you open, and she's very good at being calm but firm."
Clare gained an 2:1 LLB honours degree from the University of Hertfordshire in 1994, and then qualified as a solicitor in 1997
Clare joined Poppleston Allen in 2006 and has over 20 years of licensing experience. Clare spent seven years in licensing at McLellans Solicitors, then in 2004 Clare joined national pub operator JD Wetherspoon as Legal Director overseeing licensing transition under the Licensing Act 2003 and additionally provided strategic advice in respect of planning and property acquisitions.
Currently the joint head of Poppleston Allen’s London office, Clare helps clients to obtain the licences they need to run their businesses and, once they have the licences, Clare ensures that they keep them.
Clare advises on all stages of the licensing process and provides comprehensive and strategic advice to allow clients to obtain the best possible outcome, based on their specific needs. She is particularly skilled at handling complex situations and steering clients through licensing hurdles, including cumulative impact and enforcement action.
Clare has extensive experience in advising following allegations of breach of licensing conditions, police closures and other enforcement action, including Reviews. Clare has a proven track record in facilitating partnership based solutions for clients avoiding the need for formal enforcement action. However, should the enforcement result in proceedings – Clare is a skilled negotiator and advocate representing clients in front of licensing committees and magistrates.
Clare is a sought after solicitor for merger and acquisition projects and has advised on a significant number of large transactions over recent years. This includes strategic advice prior to acquisition, comprehensive due diligence and progressing relevant licensing applications following acquisition. Clare and her team work closely with all associated solicitors providing appropriate licensing advice for related business purchase agreements.
National expertise with a London focus:
Clare advises clients across England and Wales and has a strong presence in London advising some of the Capital’s leading restaurants, bars, hotels, private members clubs and outdoor events.
This sees Clare regularly obtaining new premises licences and varying existing premises licences to increase trading hours, capacity and improve conditions and she also advises on extensive refurbishments and increases in trading areas. Many of these applications are in cumulative impact or other highly sensitive areas.
Clare has been extremely successful with licensing applications in cumulative impact areas both in London (including Westminster, Camden, Hackney, Islington, Southwark) and beyond in major cities such as Newcastle, Blackpool, Southampton, Leeds and York.
Clare’s key national client is Stonegate Pub Company, operators of over 700 premises including brands such as Be at One, Slug and Lettuce, Walkabout and Yates. Additionally, Clare has a wide client base including: Shepherd Neame, Laine Pub Company, Old Spitalfields Market, Chelsea Flower Show, Brunning & Price, Sanderson Hotel, St Martin’s Lane Hotel, Mondrian London, Caprice Holdings Ltd, The Birley Group, Selfridges, All Star Lanes, Benito’s Hat, Nuno Mendes Holdings Ltd, Dorsett Hotels and The Ampersand Hotel.
Recently Clare has been helping clients take advantage of the growth in outdoor events, festivals and pop-ups, including:
Chelsea Flower Show,
Trade Associations and legal accolades:
About the London office:
"They are very efficient - all enquiries are dealt with really quickly and there is always good communication. I really rate the team very highly." Legal 500, 2017
Comments from Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners legal guides:
Clare, who we affectionately call our Licensing Mum, has been nothing short of fantastic. Her knowledge of licensing law and understanding of how licensing authorities like to work is second to none. As a fairly small operator we were a little hesitant to use the services of such a large law firm at the start. But time-and-time again Clare has proven it was the absolutely correct decision. Luke Betts, Director, Mutiny Festival