Licensing is a subject which many businesses and individuals find difficult to understand, both in terms of the actual process of applying for a licence and what activities are covered under licensing law.
It’s easy to fall foul of licensing regulations and, as a failure to have the correct licence can be a criminal offence, the consequences of doing so can be very serious for you and your business.
How our licensing solicitors can help
At LA, we pride ourselves on giving straightforward and sound advice. Between the members of our team, we have experience of acting on behalf of all of the parties involved in licensing, ranging from individuals and businesses to local licensing authorities and the police. From simple private hire licence applications through to Crown Court appeals, we have assisted in getting the right result for our clients.
Our licensing lawyers can advise you about the various licence requirements that apply to your business, help with the completion of the necessary application forms, and represent you at hearings that may be required. Our team includes experienced advocates (solicitors), which means that we can look after you at every stage of the process. We can also assist you when your licence is at risk, whether as a result of an application for review, or a referral to the local licensing committee for other reasons.
It is a strength of our team that we also advise and represent clients in criminal investigations and prosecutions arising from licensing matters.
Our team has experience across the entire spectrum of local authority licensing, including:
- Alcohol licences: we provide advice in relation to premises licences and club premises certificates, ranging from pubs to clubs and from corner shops to major supermarket developments. In addition, we can assist you with the associated requirements for an alcohol licence, for personal licences and designated premises supervisors.
- Gambling licences: similar sorts of licensing requirements also apply to activities such as gambling or lotteries.
- Street trading or street café licences: these include cafés that wish to put tables and chairs outside the premises.
- Temporary events notices (TENs): certain activities may require you to obtain a TEN. These include selling alcohol, serving hot food or drink late at night, holding wedding receptions, sporting events or providing entertainment. Whether you wish to carry out a licensable activity on unlicensed premises or carry out any activity that is not included in the terms of your existing licence, we can assist you with the relevant legal requirements.
- Taxi licences: whether a hackney carriage or private hire licence is required, we are able to assist both drivers and operators.
- Sexual entertainment venue (SEV) licences: some local authorities restrict how many SEV licences will be granted, and so we can provide assistance with investigatory work before you commit funds to an application. There is a particular procedure to be followed when making an application and when renewing each year. We also assist clients if objections are made to applications or renewals.
- Animal establishments: if you carry out certain activities, such as breeding dogs, selling pets, doggy daycare, providing boarding for cats or dogs, and hiring out horses, you may require a relatively new form of licence from the local authority. We have been giving advice on these requirements effective from October 2018, as well as on related matters such as dangerous animals.
- Media: We can also provide you with advice in respect of the requirements surrounding TV licensing, PRS, PPL, filmbank and MPS.
- Other specialist licences: our experience extends to other specific areas, including waste (waste disposal or waste transfer, including contaminated waste), firearms, security and childminding licensing.
How much will it cost?
Because the circumstances of each case are unique, our licensing solicitors will happily discuss your individual requirements with you.
What is included in the price?
There are three main elements to fees for licensing services:
- LA’s fees: these are the fees that we charge for the work that we undertake on your behalf.
- Expenses: these are sometimes referred to as disbursements. These are costs related to your instructions that are payable to third parties, for example application fees. The level of expenses may vary if the third party who charges it changes its pricing.
- Value-added tax: VAT is payable on our fees and some expenses.
Drafting and submitting applications
Whether you are applying for a new licence or to vary an existing one, LA’s fees will include:
- Taking your instructions and advising you about the application according to the type of licence involved, including advice about the licensing authority’s application fees.
- Where relevant, advising you about the types of plans, drawings or other documents that you are required to submit with your application.
- Drafting the application form on your behalf and, on your instructions, submitting it to the relevant licensing authority.
- Where appropriate, undertaking informal consultation with and/or serving copies of the application on responsible authorities.
- Putting together any notices required to advertise licence applications before submitting them to newspapers and providing advice about the display of site notices.
- Drafting any designated premises supervisor consents.
- Checking the licence when it is granted, correcting any errors and providing copies to you.
LA’s fees do not include:
- Obtaining plans, drawings or other documents which are required to accompany your application.
- Placing site notices.
- Site inspections or visits.
- Attending pre-consultation meetings with the licensing authority or any responsible authorities.
- Fees recoverable by third parties such as licensing or responsible authorities.
Fees for other aspects of licensing work
If a site inspection or visit is required or your application is met with representations, then additional work will fall outside of the scope of the fee that we charge for drafting and submitting the application.
We will, therefore, provide you with an estimate or fixed fee for the additional work, which may include:
- Carrying out a site visit where required.
- Providing advice and representation in connection with representations received from responsible authorities or other interested parties.
- Attendance and representation at licensing sub-committee hearings.
- Appeal against any decision of the licensing authority.
Applications for premises licences
As no two premises are the same and local licensing policies may vary, we consider our pricing with our clients for each and every application, and so the fees set out below may be subject to some variation. Please contact our licensing lawyers to discuss your requirements.
LA’s usual fees are as follows:
New applications, per application (single premises):
|Basic fee for off licence, restaurant, hotel (residential / restaurant), street trading, street café, late-night refreshment licences||£650 – £1,000 plus VAT|
|Applications including regulated entertainment, in cumulative impact areas, for extended hours or where there are prescribed conditions||£1,000 – £1,750 plus VAT|
|Complex applications, for example for nightclubs, sexual entertainment venues or mixed purpose premises||£2,500 – £5,000 plus VAT|
Applications for variation of an existing licence, per application (single premises):
|Simple variation to change a name or address of someone named in the licence or to specify a new person as DPS||£250 plus VAT|
|Minor variation||£500 – £1,000 plus VAT|
|Full variation||Fees as for new applications|
In addition to LA’s fees, please remember that expenses will be payable in addition, including typically:
|Licensing authority’s application fee|
|Premises licence depending on the rateable value||£100 – £1,905 (no VAT)|
|Variation of DPS||£23|
|Transfer of premises licence||£23|
(which can vary enormously depending on location):
|£200 – £750 plus VAT|
Applications for other types of licence
Please contact us with your requirements to discuss fixed fees or estimates for applications for other types of licence, including:
- Gambling licences.
- Taxi licences.
- Animal activity licences.
- Firearms licences.
- Temporary events notices.
- Waste licences.
In addition to LA’s fees, please remember that expenses will be payable in addition, including the licensing authority’s fees, which vary according to location.
Contentious licensing issues
LA deals with the full range of contested cases in respect of licensing, including where licences are reviewed, suspended or revoked, and licensing prosecutions. Please contact us to discuss pricing for these cases.