Judge reins in automatic conditions

By John Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: License, Law, Judge

A new legal ruling has reduced the scope for councils to automatically apply conditions on licensed premises. That's according to law firm Blake...

A new legal ruling has reduced the scope for councils to automatically apply conditions on licensed premises.

That's according to law firm Blake Lapthorn, which won an appeal against the five conditions imposed on a Somerfield store in Bristol by the local council.

The Licensing Act says councils must impose conditions "consistent with" the operating schedule of a licence application, which contains information such as opening hours.

Bristol took this to mean the schedule should be translated into conditions. But Deputy High Court Judge John Howell QC, at the Administrative Court, ruled this wasn't the case at appeal. Howell said councils could impose conditions, but were not obliged to do so. If conditions are imposed they must be necessary to promote the licensing objectives.

Somerfield was represented by Gerald Gouriet QC, of Francis Taylor Building, instructed by Blake Lapthorn.

Jon Wallsgrove, partner at Blake Lapthorn, said: "Local authorities will now have to pay much greater attention to drafting conditions on unopposed applications, and responsible authorities will have to think again before simply picking from a list of conditions when making a representation."

The five conditions at the store included ensuring gangways weren't obstructed and having no combustible items on the premises.

Related topics: Legislation

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