About licence reviews

Licence reviews are a powerful tool for dealing with potentially problematic licensed premises. The power is generally to be used as a last resort, when other measures have failed to address concerns with the venue in question.

Under the Licensing Act 2003, any person or responsible authority may apply to the Council to have a premises licence under the Act reviewed, if it is believed one or more of the licensing objectives is being undermined by the current use of that licence. The licensing objectives are as follows;

  • the prevention of crime and disorder;
  • the prevention of public nuisance;
  • public safety;
  • the protection of children from harm

 

Council powers in relation to a review

Upon consideration of a review application, the Council have the following powers which they may exercise in relation to the licence under review;

  • do nothing;
  • issue a warning;
  • modify the conditions of the premises licence (either by adding new conditions, or changing or removing existing conditions);
  • remove a licensable activity from the licence;
  • remove the designated premises supervisor;
  • suspend the licence for a period not exceeding three months;
  • revoke the licence

This is not to exclude any further potential action which could be undertaken by the Licensing Authority following a review, but relates specifically to what the review application itself may lead to.

 

Regulation

The application to review must be submitted on the prescribed statutory form, and submitted to the Council where the premises is located. Forms must be filled in fully and correctly to be accepted.

Applications to review may not be 'frivolous' or 'vexatious' in nature - in other words the concerns must be valid, serious matters for consideration, and the review process cannot be used to deal with disputes between premises which are not relevant to the licensing objectives.

Review applications must also not be 'repetitious' in nature. In practice, this means that a review which is lodged to a recently granted licence application in the same manner as the application was originally objected to, would be unlikely to be accepted. Multiple licence reviews on the same or similar grounds as previous reviews for the same venue within the last 12 months would also be unlikely to be accepted. Exceptional circumstances may result in reviews being accepted in the above scenarios, and each review application will be looked at on a case by case basis.

 

Considerations when seeking a review

When seeking a review, applicants may wish to consider what they actually require from the review process. Although there may be frustrations with the venue in question, ask if it is reasonable to seek a revocation of the licence? Are there other lesser steps which could mitigate / resolve the issues which are being experienced? These are important questions to consider, as the committee will be guided to take steps which are proportional and necessary when determining the outcome of any review.

Try to provide as much evidence on the issues experienced as possible. Simply stating in the review that there are issues with the venue is not likely to result in a successful outcome. Look to get as much information of individual incidents as possible, along with any photos, recordings or any other items of evidence which can help in demonstrating the issues the review is seeking to address. It may even be worth speaking to other people / businesses neighbouring the premises to see if they have any problems as well - they may even be willing to support the review application.

 

Making a review application

Review applications must be submitted on the review application form. As well as serving the review to the Licensing Authority, a copy must also be served on the premises licence holder for the venue in question. Copies of the review must also be submitted to all of the responsible authorities. Applications can be emailed to the Licensing Authority at licensingenquiry@camden.gov.uk .

Applications should also include all supporting evidence to go with the application, and any other documentation and / or information which the applicant believes necessary to support the case.

There is no charge for making a review application, and the Council bear responsibility for the advertisement of the application.

 

What happens next

Once submitted, if the review application is accepted, a 28 day consultation begins. During this period, the Council will ensure a site notice is displayed at or near the premises advertising the application, and will also advertise the application on the council website on the public licensing register.

During this period the responsible authorities and any other person may write a representation either in support of, or against the review. If these representations are valid, they will be considered as part of the process.

Once the 28 day consultation has expired, the Council will arrange for a licensing-sub committee to be held within 20 working days, to determine the application. A licensing committee usually consists of a panel of three councillors.

The panel will listen to evidence from the applicant, the premises, and any other responsible authorities and / or other persons who have submitted valid representations to the application who wish to speak. The panel will also consider any written evidence and submissions in relation to the case. Once all evidence has been reviewed, and all parties have had an opportunity to speak, the panel will deliberate in public, and make a decision on the day of the committee. A written decision will follow to all parties to the application shortly thereafter.

If any party to the application feels aggrieved by the decision of the committee, the decision may be challenged by way of appeal at the Magistrates' Court. Any appeal must be lodged within 21 working days of the written decision notice having been received.