"Members of Trinity Chambers are well known for their licensing expertise." Legal 500 2016.
"Within the licensing arena, barristers represent authorities, applicants and objectors in matters such as firearms, gaming, sexual entertainment and taxi licensing." Tier 1, Legal 500 2015.
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, the election of the Coalition Government brought with it a very different approach to its liberalising agenda, with significant amendments to the Act flowing from the Police Reform & Social Responsibility Act 2011, and minimum pricing already in place in Scotland and on the agenda in England and Wales. 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, the barristers in Trinity Chambers’ Licensing Group are able to offer clients a sense of 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-East of England, and has a practice of national scope receiving instructions from solicitors and in house counsel from across England and Wales.
In relation to the Licensing Act 2003, barristers in the group have significant experience in advising and acting for licensing authorities, responsible authorities, applicants and objectors at all stages of applications, as well as in relation to policies. As well as the more typical bar, nightclub, pub, working men’s club and retail operations, the licensing barristers have been involved in more unusual and complex matters, running the spectrum from major arenas and sports stadia, concert halls and music festivals to “stretch limo” based operations.
Members of the Licensing Group have real expertise in taxi licensing matters, with barristers in the group appearing in major judicial reviews such as Berwick Borough Council v. Newcastle City Council and Stockton Borough Council v. Fidler. Advice is provided by the barristers to local authorities on a national basis, and members of the Group are currently working with the Law Commission in relation to its consultation on the reform of taxi law.
Barristers in the Licensing Group deal with all betting, gaming and lottery matters, from casinos to betting shops attached to working men’s clubs and raffles. This a field where online presence has become a significant factor, and Trinity Chambers has a close relationship with practitioners in offshore jurisdictions where the decision is taken to locate operations outside the UK. Barristers in the Licensing team have experience in dealing with investigations undertaken by the Premier League regarding allegations of copyright infringement by pubs and clubs showing 'live' football matches using foreign channel broadcasts from satellite decoder cards.
Barristers in the Licensing Group have advised and acted in numerous sex licensing matters, from conventional lap-dancing operations and sex shops to more esoteric matters including erotica conventions, sex cinemas, R18 video operations, saunas and online agencies.
The Licensing Group has enormous experience and expertise in acting in appeals under the Firearms Act 1968, an area that has attracted increasing controversy in the last 20 years as licensing authorities try to strike the balance between the protection of the public and the rights of the certificate holder.
Barristers in the Group are members of the Institute of Licensing.
Members of the Group frequently speak at licensing seminars and training events, including those hosted by Solicitors 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, together with Solicitors Regulation Authority CPD accredited events run by Trinity Chambers itself.
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, Regulatory, Planning, Crime, 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 Licensing Group have been consistently highly rated by external publications such as the Legal 500 and Chambers UK.