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Interim steps when facing a licensing breach

What happens to interim steps imposed on a summary review pending appeal?

The Dog & Duck Public House had a violent incident. The Police used their powers under Section 53 A of the Licensing Act 2003 to apply for a summary review of the Premises Licence.  At that summary review which is heard within a day or so of the application, Licensing decides to order a suspension of the Premises Licence pending the full review of the Premises Licence which must take place within 28 days.

At the full review hearing, the Licensing Authority decides to revoke the Premises Licence.  The question then has been what happens between that date and the date upon which the appeal is heard by the Magistrates.

Do the interim steps come to an end so that the premises can be open or does the interim step of suspension continue pending the appeal of the revocation decision?

Government guidance initially issued in this matter suggested that interim steps imposed on a summary review remained in force pending the appeal to the Magistrates.  In December 2011, a District Judge in the case of the Chief Constable of Cheshire v Gary Oates held that this guidance was wrong and the interim steps do not survive beyond the determination of the full review, so in this example, the Dog & Duck could reopen.

In R (O.A.O.93 Feet East Limited) v Tower Hamlets LBC it was heard that a High Court Judge has ruled that in fact suspension ordered in the interim steps should remain in effect until the hearing of an appeal against revocation at the very least until the time for appealing the review expired (21 days).

This decision makes it more important than ever for Licensees who are confronted with this situation to ensure that they make proper representations against interim steps before the full review hearing.

If you have any further queries concerning this, please contact our Alcohol & Entertainment Licensing team on 01332 226142.

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