Licensing

  • Overview

    We can provide insightful advice and practical assistance on all licensing matters across England, Wales and Scotland, from the routine to the complex. This includes noise/nuisance issues that would fall to be dealt with under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and related legislation.

    Your application will be handled by Ben Mackenzie, a partner in our Disputes and Litigation team, or by Mark Foster, an associate with the firm. Brief biographical details for each are set out below.

    Ben Mackenzie

    Ben is experienced in all aspects of licensing law and has often appeared before licensing committees regarding applications to vary premises licences, reviews and summary review hearings and representations made by parties objecting to licensing applications.

    Ben assisted with the conversion of over 150 licenses from the old 1976 Act to the Licensing Act 2003 at the inception of the current law, having previously acted for numerous clients under the old Magistrates’ system. This conversion was part of a full-scale project for Punch Taverns and associated companies for whom we converted approximately 3,500 licences during the course of 2005. This significant project required careful administration, along with advocacy expertise for the hearings which were called by the Local Authority Licensing panels.

    Ben has strong links with several large pub companies and breweries and is one of our principal licensing partners.

    Mark Foster

    Mark has advised a variety of clients in many areas of licensing. This has ranged from making basic licence applications to full representation of clients in obtaining new licences in contested cases, in the face of opposition from other parties. Mark has developed strong links with many of our leisure sector clients and has a full appreciation of the way they operate and the range of issues that they face.

    • How we determine our price

      This section applies to our advice to you where you are a business wishing to make a licensing application for your business premises, or to vary an existing licence, in each case under the Licensing Act 2003.

      There are many factors which may affect our fees, which will depend largely on the level of complexity of your case. We have set out below the fees that we would typically charge for handling your case:

      Type of service Fee (excluding VAT)
      Simple Personal Licence Application (all relevant documents provided by you to us at the outset) £70
      TEN Application (Temporary Event Notice) £80
      New Premises Licence £800
      Variation of Premises Licence £450
      Minor Variation £350
      Transfer of Premises Licence £150
      Change of DPS (Designated Premises Supervisor)
      (Emergency – Out of Hours)
      £75
      (£150)
      New Pavement Permit £500
      Renewal of Pavement Permit £270
      Dealing with representations and licensing hearings where appropriate Dealt with at hourly rates set out below
      Change of name/address on personal/premises licence £70

      The particular circumstances of your application may result in a deviation from the fees stated above, and additional costs may be payable for submitting and advertising your application.

      Before you commit to paying, we will explain to you any variance from the indicative fee, and we will advise you of any additional costs, to the extent apparent at the outset. We will also keep you updated at all times if any change of circumstances is likely to result in an increase in our fee or any further additional costs.

      What other costs may arise?

      You may have to pay certain expenses and other costs. To the extent that such costs relate to amounts that we must pay to third parties, they are known as “disbursements”. The costs and expenses most likely to arise include:

      • Application fee: this depends on the nature of the application – see https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/alcohol-licensing-fee-levels for further details
      • Advertising fee: amount will be set by the relevant newspaper(s)
      • Enquiry agent fees to display public notices
      • Special delivery fee to serve the application
      • Printing copies of plans if necessary.

      We will provide you with guidance on the likely levels of these costs at the outset, if then apparent, or otherwise as and when you/we need to incur them.

      Timescale and key stages of the process

      These are the key stages of the process to apply for, or vary, your licence:

      1. Taking your instructions
      2. Advising you as to how you can promote the licensing objectives within your application
      3. Advising you on the type of plans required to accompany your application
      4. Completing and submitting your application
      5. Disclosing your application to the responsible authorities
      6. Making arrangements for the necessary advertising of the application.

      From taking your initial instructions to grant or variation of the licence will usually take between 10 and 20 weeks, depending largely on whether third parties raise any objections to your application and the time taken to process the application by the local licensing authority. This is on the basis that your application is fairly straightforward, and that you are able to provide all necessary documents promptly. If your matter is more complex, for example because there is substantial opposition from interested parties, or there is a delay in receiving the documents that we need, it may take longer.

      We will keep you updated at all times if any factors are likely to result in delay.

      Who will be dealing with your case?

      Your case will typically be handled by a solicitor in our Disputes and Litigation team, supported as necessary by our trainees/paralegals. A solicitor acting for you may be described in correspondence as a “Partner”, an “Associate” or a “Solicitor”. An Associate is, generally, more experienced than a “Solicitor”. Our trainees/paralegals are not (yet) solicitors, and usually have no other formal legal qualification.

      We will always ensure that the solicitor acting for you has the requisite level of experience to handle your case competently. In any event, all work will be supervised by a Partner, being the most senior member of the team allocated to you.

      As noted on our Licensing page, the solicitors most likely to advise you are Ben Mackenzie or Mark Foster.

      Our hourly rates

      As you will see above, we carry out much of our licensing work for a fixed fee. If we do work for you otherwise than on a fixed fee basis, please note that our hourly rates (exclusive of VAT) for each type of solicitor or other team member who may be involved in your application, are as follows:

      Partner £190
      Associate £170
      Solicitor £160
      Trainee £100
      Paralegal £120

      If we need to rely on our hourly rates, we will endeavour to provide you with an estimate of the time that each member of the team is likely to take in order to conclude your application or otherwise to comply with your instructions.

      If you have any queries, please contact Ben Mackenzie in the first instance, at ben.mackenzie@weightmans.com.

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