Licensing law is going through some interesting times. Just when it looked as if the changes brought about by the Licensing Act 2003 had settled down, there then followed significant amendments to the Act flowing from the Police Reform & Social Responsibility Act 2011. Simultaneously, the Courts have signalled a move away from a technical, quasi-judicial approach to licensing decisions, and at local government level, licensing is becoming more an expression of democratic will and less an adversarial fight between applicant and objector. Human Rights and European jurisprudence play an ever-increasing role in licensing disputes.
Other changes include the replacement of the old Gaming Acts by the Gambling Act, the introduction of “sexual entertainment venues” as a new category of premises requiring a licence, and significant case-law in the field of taxi licensing. And the changes will not stop, with Law Commission consultation on the reform of the (in parts 165 year old) licensing system for hackney carriages, and more case law on the horizon.
Through this ever-shifting landscape, Trinity’s licensing barristers provide direction with a wealth of highly specialised expertise and experience. The Licensing Group is home to some of the most well known licensing advocates in the North of England, and has a practice of national scope receiving instructions from solicitors and in house counsel from across England and Wales.
Members of the Group frequently speak at licensing seminars and training events, including those hosted by Lawyers in Local Government, Institute of Licensing, Balance North East and the North-East Strategic Licensing Group, as well as in-house lectures delivered to local authorities, police authorities and solicitors’ firms.
It is of immense benefit to the barristers in the Group and to their clients to have access to Trinity Chambers’ other specialist practice groups, where there is frequent cross-over from licensing matters, particularly in relation to Administrative & Public, Civil Liberties & Human Rights, Regulatory, Planning, Crime, Property, Housing, Employment and Business. Clients will often find that Trinity Chambers can be a "one-stop shop" for all legal issues arising out of the conduct and management of licensed premises.
Barristers in the Group are members of the Institute of Licensing and have been consistently highly rated by industry publications such as the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners.