Appeal against a alcohol and entertainment licensing decision

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of a licensing hearing where you were the applicant or a party to the hearing (someone who raised a relevant representation), you can appeal through the courts against the decision of the Licensing Authority.

What decisions can be appealed

Appeals can be made about a decision on an application for a:

  • Premises licence
  • Club premises certificate
  • Variation to an existing licence or certificate
  • Review of an existing licence or certificate
  • Temporary event notice (TEN)
  • Provisional Statement
  • Transfer of premises licence

Who can appeal?

Any person or body has the right to appeal against a decision of the Licensing Committee provided they were the applicant or a party to the hearing (someone who raised a relevant representation). They can appeal if they think:

  • The licence should or should not have been granted
  • The Licensing Committee should have imposed different, less or extra conditions on the licence
  • A licensable activity should have been excluded from, or included in, the licence
  • The Licensing Committee should not or should have agreed to the 'designated premises supervisor' (this is not relevant for a club premises certificate)
  • There was an irregularity in our procedures and this affected the decision (for example, the licensing sub-committee failed to comply with the hearings regulations)

How to appeal

You should appeal in writing to the designated officer for the magistrates' court in the area where the premises is situated. In Wandsworth this is usually:

South Western Magistrates' Court
176a Lavender Hill
SW11 1JU

You must make your appeal within 21 days of being formally told of the Licensing Committees' decision in writing.

The appeal must only deal with the likely impact of the Licensing Committees' decision on any of the four licensing objectives:

  • The prevention of crime and disorder (for example drug-related problems, disorder, drunkenness and anti-social behaviour)
  • Public safety (the physical safety of people using the venue)
  • The prevention of public nuisance (for example noise from music, litter and light pollution)
  • The protection of children from harm (including moral, psychological and physical harm)

You should contact the magistrates' court to check how to make an appeal. You will be required to pay a fee to the court  when you lodge an appeal.

Will an appeal stop the decision taking effect?

In cases of new or variation applications the decision of the Licensing Committee will stand pending the outcome of any appeal. In cases of review applications the decision of the Licensing Committee will not be implemented until the outcome of any appeal.

The Licensing Committees' decision will take effect until we know the outcome of the appeal.

Once an appeal has been made

The magistrates' court has three options after receiving an appeal. It can:

  • Dismiss the appeal
  • Substitute the decision for any other decision we could have made as the licensing authority
  • Send the case back to the Licensing Committee and ask them to reconsider the application.

Usually, there is an initial hearing at the magistrates' court. At this time the court will decide whether there is a case and whether it will hear the case or send it back to the Licensing Committee to deal with.

If the court decides to hear the matter itself, it will normally adjourn to a 'full hearing' date when it will have the time to decide the case.

Procedure at an appeal hearing

We, as the licensing authority, and the party to the hearing who have not called the appeal (this may be the applicant or those who raised representation) will be the 'respondents' to appeals. We will normally be present at appeal hearings. Where the appeal has been made by a person who made a representation both the licence applicant and the licensing authority may be 'respondents' and may be separately legally represented.

The person appealing would normally open the case and call his or her witnesses. However, in licensing cases, the court may invite the licensing authority to speak first, if everyone agrees.

This is to help the court understand how we came to our licensing decision in the first place. Usually, anyone at an appeal hearing can call on witnesses to support their case (for example, other local residents or responsible authorities such as the police).

Please note that in cases where a licence applicant or licence holder appeals against our decision, any responsible authorities (such as the police) and any other person who made representations will not usually be classed as 'respondents' at appeal hearings, However, in such cases, people who made representations can ask that the court make them a respondent, or, more likely, we will call on them as a 'witness' to back up the decision we made.

Standard of evidence

If you wish to appeal a decision of the Licensing Authority you are strongly advised to seek legal representation and / or contact the relevant court for further advice. We will not be able to assist you.

Legal costs

If you appeal against the Licensing Committees' decision and you are unsuccessful, the court can award costs against you. This would mean you have to pay other parties' legal costs as well as your own.

What happens next?

The court tells all interested parties of its decisions with the reasons.

There is no further opportunity to appeal against this decision.