Application for the review of a Premises Licence or Club Premises Certificate
Application for the review of a premises licence or club premises certificate under the Licensing Act 2003
The Licensing Act 2003 provides that any time following the grant of a premises licence or club premises certificate, a responsible authority or interested party can ask the licensing authority to review the licence or certificate if they have concerns about the premises in relation to any of the four licensing objectives.
In addition, the licensing authority must review a licence if the premises to which it relates was made the subject of a closure order by the police based on nuisance or disorder, and the magistrates’ court has sent the authority the relevant notice of its determination. A review must also be undertaken if the police have made an application for summary review on the basis that premises are associated with serious crime and/or disorder
Who can make an application for review
Only ‘Responsible Authorities’ and ‘interested parties’ (or their representatives) can make an application to review a premise licence or club premises certificate.
There are 9 Responsible Authorities for North East Lincolnshire, including the licensing authority. A full list of names, addresses and contact details for all of the Responsible Authorities for North East Lincolnshire can be found here: https://www.nelincs.gov.uk/licensing/general-licensing-and-street-trading/addresses-for-postal-applications/
An ‘interested party’ includes any person or business, living or operating in the vicinity of the premises subject to the application, or their representatives. In the case of a Club Premises Certificate, it also includes any member of the club.
Grounds for making an application for review
Review applications will only be considered relevant on a ground or grounds relating to one or more of the four licensing objectives:
- the prevention of crime and disorder
- public safety
- prevention of public nuisance
- the protection of children from harm
The licensing authority will reject comments it considers to be frivolous (ie not serious or time-wasting) or vexatious (ie they relate to personal disputes between businesses) or where they are repetitious (ie identical or substantially similar to a ground for review in an earlier application or representations considered when the premises licence was first granted).
The review process is not intended to be used as a ‘second bite of the cherry’ following failure of representations to the Licensing Authority on earlier occasions. The licensing authority will not permit more than one review from an a person other than a Responsible Authority within any 12 month period on similar grounds except in exceptional and compelling circumstances
It is important to note than interested parties cannot apply for a review anonymously even if somebody else is applying for the review on their behalf .This is because it would prevent the licensing authority from being able to satisfy itself that the person requesting the review lives in the vicinity of the premises and is not being vexatious or repetitious. It is also important to enable to licence holder to respond to an application for a review.
Before making an application to review
Before making an application to review a licence/certificate, applicants are encouraged to consider whether their concerns could be effectively dealt with outside of the formal review process. Such steps could include:
- Talking to the licence holder to establish whether there are any steps they may be willing to take to rectify the situation.
- Asking the licensing section to talk to the licence holder on their behalf
- Asking a local MP or Councillor to speak to the licence holder on their behalf.
- Talking to the relevant responsible authority (e.g. environmental health in relation to noise nuisance, or the police in relation to crime and disorder) to establish whether there is other action that can be taken to resolve the problem.
Things to consider when making an application to review
There are a number of things applicants are advised to consider when seeking a review:
- Evidence of the ground(s) of review will be required to be presented to the licensing authority / Licensing Sub-Committee. Where possible, evidence should show that problems have been encountered over a period of time. This could take the form of detailed diary logs (including details of the date, time and duration of the incident(s) nature of the disturbance and the effect of it on the applicants’ day to day life). Other evidence could take the form of photographs and video or tape recordings etc.
- Getting the backing of other people or businesses living/operating in the vicinity of the premises, or other “responsible authorities”.
- Check the ‘licensing register’ to see if other people have made representations or asked for a review of a premises in the past.
- When considering raising a petition, it is important to ensure that the licensing authority can determine whether all the signatories are within the ‘vicinity’ of the premises – including their addresses and indicating clearly what grounds they are asking for a review is essential. It would also help if a spokesperson could volunteer to receive details about the hearings etc. and that they would be willing to speak on behalf of the petitioners at the hearing.
- Applicants wanting to ask another person such as an MP or local Councillor to represent them at the review are advised to make such a request in writing so that the individual can demonstrate he or she was asked. It will be a matter for the MP or Councillor to decide whether they agree to the request since they are not obliged to do so, however most elected representatives are happy to help residents with this sort of issue. It should be noted that Councillors who are part of the licensing committee hearing the application will not be able to discuss the application outside the formal hearing.
- For individual incidents, try to get as much information as possible about any official response (e.g. the police being called out). Data such as crime statistics can also be used to back up an application. However, it should be noted that conditions attached to licences cannot seek to manage the behaviour of customers once they are beyond the direct management of the licence holder and his staff or agents.
The applicant for the review of the premises license / club premises certificate must submit their application, including all related documents, to the licensing authority in writing, using the prescribed application form. The applicant must notify the holder of the premises license and each Responsible Authority or their request by sending them a copy of the application and all related documents, on the same day it is given to the licensing authority.
It should be noted that it is an offence, without reasonable excuse, to give to the Licensing Authority information in relation to a premises review, which is false or misleading.
An applicant can withdraw their application by informing the licensing authority as soon as possible (by written notice no later than 24 hours before the start of a hearing, or orally at the hearing) that they want to withdraw their application.
Advertising the review
The licensing authority will advertise the application by way of notices displayed on or in the vicinity of the premises concerned, notices in the local newspaper and details shown on the councils’ website, inviting further representations from interested parties and responsible authorities. Representations can only be made within a period of 28 consecutive days after receipt of the application.
Hearing a review
If the council considers the applicants’ reasons for making representations or calling for a review are relevant, it will arrange a hearing to consider the evidence. The hearing must be heard by the Licensing Sub-Committee (consisting of Councillors).
Hearings will take place in public unless the Licensing Sub-Committee decides it is in the best interests of the public to hold all, or part of the hearing in private. A record will be taken of the hearing.
The details of all representations will be included in a report prepared by office from the Licensing Section. These reports are public documents and the Council is required to publish them. Copies of the reports and accompanying documentation will be placed on the Council’s website. It is important to note that the reports will contain details of all parties to the review application, including their names and addresses.
The applicant for the review, the license holder, any responsible authorities and interested parties (or their representative) will be invited to the hearing where they will be given an opportunity to explain their concerns.
Outcome of the hearing
The 2003 Act sets out what steps the Licensing Sub-Committee can take in relation to an application for a review of a premises license / club premises certificate. The options available to Sub-Committee following consideration of the application are:
- Take no action
- Issue an informal/formal warning to the license holder and/or to recommend improvement within a particular period of time.
- Modify the conditions (including adding new conditions and alteration or omission of existing condition)
- Exclude a licensable activity from the scope of the license/certificate
- Remove the Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS)
- Suspend the license/certificate (for a maximum of three months); or
- Revoke the license/certificate.
If the applicant, license holder (or Club) or anyone who made a representation is aggrieved by the decision of the Licensing Sub-Committee, they can make an appeal to the Magistrates Court within 21 days of receiving written notification of the decision of the licensing sub-committee.
Any persons considering such action are advised to seek professional advice prior to commencing such proceedings.