Advice

Legal Q&A: Appeals against licensing committees

By Poppleston Allen

- Last updated on GMT

Legal Q&A: Appeals against licensing committees

Related tags: Licence review hearing, Appeal, Law

This week's legal Q&A includes appeals against decisions of licensing committees and when training records should be considered inadequate.

Appeal against decision of licensing committee

Q. My licence was recently reviewed and I am thinking of appealing the decision. One of my reasons is that, on the day, I produced some documents that I was going to use in my defence. However, the police objected to the documents, claiming it was too late, and the council refused permission for me to hand them out. Is this a grounds for appeal?

A. Without knowing the detail of your case I can only comment in general terms. The Hearing Regulations state that any documents produced at the hearing (and not before) can only be used with the consent of all other parties.

Therefore, the licensing sub-committee was within its rights to refuse these documents, but I would normally expect them to ask if a short adjournment was needed for all parties to consider the documents. Depending on the importance of those documents to your case, it may have been appropriate to adjourn the hearing to another day so that everybody can read them properly.

Either way, if you did decide to appeal, then you would be able to introduce the documents in the appeal, as an appeal is a fresh hearing. I advise you to seek legal advice.

Training records considered inadequate

Q. On a recent licensing visit, the council licensing officer told me that my training records were not up to scratch and that I should seriously consider improving them. Do I have an obligation to maintain extensive records and should I be concerned?

A. Although I would have expected the licensing officer to have commented if you were in breach of any conditions of your premises licence, you should check this because conditions are often applied that provide such an obligation. Record-keeping conditions can be quite prescriptive and often state the details that must be recorded and how long records must be maintained.

If it's not a condition of your licence, you are not strictly required to keep training records, although this does show evidence of good practice. I have seen operators rely on detailed records when under investigation by responsible authorities. I have also seen records used to evidence an operator’s due diligence at a premises licence review hearing, which was instigated by the police for a failed test purchase.

You may find it beneficial to maintain appropriate records for several areas including: staff training — providing dates, training provider details (in-house or external) and details of any refresher training; refusals — providing dates, times, details of the individual refused service and the details of the member of staff involved; incidents —including dates, times and a description of the incident and the member of staff involved.

Having considered a refusal/incident log, it may be beneficial for you or the DPS to sign these records on a weekly basis to evidence that incidents are being actively monitored and potential concerns identified.

Related topics: Training, Licensing law

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