Pubs urged to get legal advice to avoid licence reviews

By Adam Pescod

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Premises licence License Crime

Licence reviews: Can be avoided if licensees get proper legal advice
Licence reviews: Can be avoided if licensees get proper legal advice
Licensees risk seeing their pub’s reputation shattered if they don’t seek expert legal advice following routine licensing visits by police. That is the warning from Jon Wallsgrove, partner at Blake Lapthorn licensing solicitors, who was speaking at the BII South East Region’s AGM last week.

Referring to a licence review case he had recently acted on, Wallsgrove stressed the importance of working in partnership with the police to avoid a licence review.

Wallsgrove represented a licensee who had her premises licence reviewed after police alleged that underage drinking, drug use and drunken assaults had taken place at the premises.

The police had advised the licensee during a routine licensing visit to introduce a Challenge 25 policy and keep a record of staff training.

However, these requests were ignored, and a review was initiated after further police visits to investigate criminal activity at the pub.

The police said that the licensee had failed a test purchase operation and served alcohol to people who were already drunk, which had led to assaults inside and outside the premises. They also claimed to have found evidence of drug taking and dealing in the toilets.

All of the allegations were dismissed by the local council due to a lack of evidence, but the pub has seen a drop in trade as a result of the review. The licensee now operates a Challenge 25 policy and has agreed to keep an up-to-date staff training record.

“It got to a point where the police, because she hadn’t been cooperative, decided to review her premises licence following some incidents,” said Wallsgrove.

“They had then observed the premises and seen some other things that they weren’t happy about so they put together a review application principally based on the fact they had lost confidence in the licensee because they had advised her to put good practice into place, and she hadn’t done it.”

He added: “When the police ask you to do something, you have to decide if you are going to follow that advice or not. That is when it’s worth calling a lawyer or helpline, just to find out if what they’re asking of you is a reasonable request.”

Related topics Licensing law

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