Licensing

The Hugh James specialist team of licensing solicitors combines expertise in both licensing and regulation to ensure that you have the support you need.

We offer a full range of licensing legal services ensuring that your business is running legally and safely.

We deal with all aspects of liquor licensing and gambling including:

  • premises licence applications;
  • internet and actual betting and gaming license applications;
  • variation applications;
  • designated premises supervisor variations;
  • personal licence applications;
  • objections and temporary events notices;
  • initial applications and transfers;
  • appeals and breach proceedings;
  • gaming machine licences;
  • pools and lotteries applications;
  • street trading and pavement licences;
  • summary reviews, interim steps applications and full reviews; and
  • defending closure orders.

As a licensed premise you are regulated by not only the Licensing Authority but also other authorities in relation to health and safety, weights and measures, food safety, trading standards, disability discrimination and door security.  Working in conjunction with our regulatory investigations team, our specialist solicitors can advise on all of these areas.


Experience

The Licensing Team frequently acts in applications for betting and gaming licences under the Gambling Act 2005.

The team has developed a ‘licensing health check’ toolkit which focuses on the auditing of the due diligence systems of premises licenses for compliance.  See the tab below for our licensing health check toolkit.

Our licensing clients include:

  • individual bars;
  • pub chains;
  • restaurant chains;
  • stadiums;
  • betting offices;
  • theatres;
  • cinemas;
  • hotels; and
  • an impressive range of large scale event licensing.

With a background in regulatory crime, Martin Jones takes particular interest in licensing breach cases and revocations and appeals.

Martin is head of the Hugh James Regulatory Team which offers a range of services designed to support the Licensing Team including:

  • disability discrimination;
  • environmental protection;
  • fire safety;
  • food safety;
  • health and safety;
  • noise abatement;
  • trading standards;
  • weights and measures; and
  • ‘right to work’ offences.

Mark Perry calls upon more than 20 years of experience in liquor licensing and assists large and small businesses throughout the process. He has also undertaken a significant number of complex Gambling Act 2005 applications for a number of betting offices and amusement arcades in the South Wales area. He numbers amongst his clients the Millennium Stadium and other notable Welsh businesses.

Martin Jones has acted in licensing breach cases for more than ten years and counts a national supermarket chain amongst his clients. He appears with increasing frequency for licensee and interested persons in licensing appeals.

Licensing health check toolkit

Are you complying with your licensee obligations?

There are potential penalties for knowingly allowing or undertaking unauthorised licensable activities. Such as:

  • £5000 fine for you or your staff selling alcohol to a minor;
  • £5000 fine for knowingly making a false statement in connection with a licensing application;
  • Six months imprisonment and/or £20,000 fine for knowingly allowing or carrying on unauthorised licensable activity; or
  • Six months imprisonment and/or £20,000 fine for unauthorised exposure for sale by retail of alcohol.

Our free licensing health check toolkit focuses on the auditing of the due diligence systems of premises licenses for compliance.

The service includes;

  • review of due diligence procedures;
  • review of premises licence terms; and
  • review of training procedures.

For further information on the free licensing health check please call us on 029 2039 1048 or complete our online enquiry form.

Case studies

Loss of premises licence

Cessation of licensable activities – temporary event notices – new premises licence.

X had discovered that their premises licence had lapsed following the licence holder going into administration. It was too late to transfer the premises licence and save it and so the Licensing Authority advised them to stop providing licensable activities immediately, which they did.

However, a number of events were booked in the subsequent weeks, including a wedding, and so they approached us for advice on ways to provide licensable activities for as many of the events as possible and to also make an application for a new premises licence.

It was possible to cover several events and weekends (and the wedding!) with temporary event notices within the prescribed limits for temporary event notices.  With the temporary event notices, we prepared and submitted an application for a new premises licence based substantially on the previous premises licence.

All of the temporary event notices were approved and the application for the new premises licence granted.

Application for variation of premises licence

Regulated entertainment – live music/recorded music – objections – hearing

X had made an application for the variation of their premises licence to extend the permitted timings for live music and recorded music (already having had live music and recorded music for a number of years). The venue was in a town centre, didn’t have a history of complaints and there were few residents in the immediate vicinity. None of the residents in the immediate vicinity had objected to the application.

However, objections were received from residents on the opposite side of the valley who had said that the music might carry across the valley and by the environmental health department who had said that the music would disrupt people living in the immediate vicinity of the premises, even though none of these immediate neighbours had felt it necessary to object themselves.

We were instructed to represent X at the Licensing Committee hearing. Our case included photographs, maps and diagrams of the pub and the vicinity. Our contention was that since there had been no complaints about the premises to date, the residents’ objections shouldn’t be accepted on the assumption that the music might be disruptive and nor the EHO objection accepted since none of the immediate neighbours had felt it necessary to object to the application themselves.

The case was argued successfully and the premises licence varied in accordance with X’s initial application.

Potential administration of licence holder

Loss of operating licence – loss of numerous premises licences – transfers of premises licences

X operated a large network of adult gaming centres. The operating licence was held by a company and the company was contemplating administration.

X approached us for advice relating to the operating licence and the related premises licences and how they should be protected.

We advised X to transfer all of the premises licences to another operator so that they didn’t lapse on the lapse of the operating licence. X did this and all of the premises licences were saved.

Restructuring of gambling operator

Application for new operating licence – transfer of premises licences

We had acted for X, a partnership, for a number of years. X had held an operating licence since the conversion process in 2007. One of the partners wanted to retire and took advice from us as to the effect of the retirement on the licensing aspect.

Since the operating licence was held by a partnership it couldn’t be changed to remove one of the partners as this would have changed the entity from a partnership to a sole trader, which is not permitted by the Gambling Commission.

We advised X that the continuing partner (now as a sole trader) would need their own operating licence to continue running the business and the premises licences would also have to be transferred to the new operator to allow the continued operation of the premises.

Testimonials

Hugh James has a ‘longstanding reputation’ in this area. Practice head Martin Jones is ‘skilled and experienced’ in large-scale event licensing work. Consultant Mark Perry is also ‘at the forefront of licensing law in Wales’.
The Legal 500 2015

This team handles a wide range of licensing and gambling matters, maintaining a strong appetite for reviews, appeals and other contentious matters. They have key expertise on the licensing of major sporting and large-scale outdoor events, and includes a number of public authorities amongst its clientele.
Chambers UK 2014

At Hugh James, Martin Jones heads a team which specialises in licensing breach cases, and revocations and appeals. The team attracts a wide range of work from a diverse client base, across gambling, alcohol and large-scale event licensing.
The Legal 500 2013

One source said that the firm is “probably the leading licensing team in Wales,” a claim supported by an impressive client”. A source said that “they look at getting the best results rather than cutting any corners – they are always willing to put in the extra effort to get the result the client needs.”
Chambers UK 2013

This Cardiff-based team handles the full range of licensing matters. Its client base includes pubs, off-licences, nightclubs and music festivals.

It recently advised the Welsh Rugby Union on its new premises on Westgate Street, and represented a number of South Wales licensees in a series of unrelated Magistrates’ Court appeals against the grant of off-licences.

Client Service: “They’re always very willing to listen and to discuss matters in order to ensure that, whichever approach we take, it is in the best interests of the business.”

Consultant Mark Perry is singled out by sources for his “consistently sound, pragmatic advice.” He continues to deal with a large number of Gambling Act applications. Martin Jones enters the rankings this year. He recently acted for a prominent Cardiff restaurant and bar chain in an appeal against revocation.

Mark Perry at Hugh James handles significant licensing work for independent bookmakers and amusement arcades, and acts for a major chain on agency instructions. Millennium Stadium plc is a client.
The Legal 500 – First Rank

The team here undertakes work throughout Wales and England from its Cardiff base. It advises on various alcohol licensing matters as well as betting and gaming issues, including amusement arcades. Mark Perry has over 20 years’ experience in contested and uncontested applications, and his experience of commercial conveyancing is often useful to licensing clients.
Chambers – First Rank



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Hodge House
114 - 116 St. Mary Street
Cardiff, CF10 1DY
Tel: 029 2022 4871
Fax: 029 2038 8222


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London, EC4Y 0DA
Tel: 020 7936 3453
Fax: 020 3053 8562


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