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Too Little Too Late – Revocation of a Premises Licence

Too Little Too Late – Revocation of a Premises Licence

In the Scottish case of Trust Inns Ltd V City of Glasgow Licensing Board (Glasgow) the licensing committee revoked the premises licence of a company on the basis that there was extensive drug use at the premises. The licence holder appealed on a number of grounds including that since the revocation there was now a new tenant in the premises, and things had substantially improved. Notwithstanding this however the licensing committee found that there was now an established culture of drug misuse which went beyond the individual attitude of the licence holder. The Sherriff Court dismissed the appeal against revocation. The Court found that the appointment of a new tenant was too little, too late and had been unable to alter an established culture of drug misuse.

The decision is of interest in that in many appeals the licence holder will seek to argue that things have changed since the decision to revoke the premises licence. Hearings before the Magistrates Court are de novo, which means that the Magistrates Court can hear the matter afresh. It is therefore relevant to provide the updated position as to what is now happening on the ground. At the same time the licence holder will need to establish that the changes made are not merely cosmetic changes, but have actually addressed the underlying issues which gave rise to the review application in the first place. In the Trust Inns case, a change of tenant was unable to change the culture of drug misuse. In effect, the premises had now become a magnet for drug misuse. In any appeal the challenge will be to establish that the wider problematic culture has been addressed.

Blog by Winston Brown

Winston Brown is the Principal Solicitor of Brown & Co Solicitors which specialise in licensing law. If you wish to discuss your matter, please call us on 020 8858 5996, or email us at enquiries@brownandcosolicitors.co.uk.

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