Courts can take into consideration that residents who complain about noise at pubs knew it was there before they moved in.
That is the important message from a landmark High Court case involving St Albans licensee Jass Patel of the Moloko pub on Verulam Road.
Patel was originally cleared by Hertfordshire Magistrates in December 2006 of three allegations of failure to comply with noise abatement notices.
The case centred on noise nuisance allegedly suffered by neighbour Jane Lockley, whose garden adjoins the pub garden.
Magistrates took the view that Lockley knew there was a pub next door when she moved into her house four-and-a-half years earlier and that Patel had done everything he could to keep noise to a minimum.
Following complaints, Patel had closed part of the garden, restricted numbers in the garden to 40 when he is allowed 100, put up prominent signs asking for noise to be kept down, banned live music in the garden and even paid for another neighbour to have double glazing fitted.
St Albans Council had launched an appeal in the High Court but the Judge ruled that magistrates had been entitled to take into account that a pub had been there before Lockley moved in.
He added that Mr Patel's willingness to install double glazing in a different neighbour's property "shows that Mr Patel was willing and able to carry out further works where there was cooperation from a neighbour".
Morning Advertiser legal expert Peter Coulson said: "This is a very important case because it highlights the fact that if licensees use 'best practicable means' to keep noise down they may be able to avoid prosecution in future.
"This will not, of course, stop neighbours from seeking a licence review under the Licensing Act 2003 on the grounds of the public nuisance licensing objective."