Licensing act 2003 reviews
A responsible authority, or anyone else, may make an application to the Council for review of a premises licence or club premises certificate, if they are concerned that the premises are not being properly operated and have evidence to support their point of view. Anyone considering applying for a review should seek advice at the earliest opportunity.
What is a review?
A review is an application to the Council to consider whether or not particular premises are being conducted in accordance with their licence and the terms of the Licensing Act 2003, and to consider taking appropriate action.
A review should not be the first stage in taking action to deal with concerns about licensed premises. Anyone with concerns about such premises should consider whether these could be dealt with by other means, for example:
Asking the licence holder or club secretary to take steps to rectify the situation
Asking the relevant responsible authority whether there is other legislation which could be used to solve the problem. For instance, the Environmental Health Officer may be able to help deal with noise nuisance or the Police may be able to help in cases of crime and disorder at licensed premises.
Who can make an application for review?
Under the Licensing Act 2003 a responsible authority or any other person can make an application for review of a premises licence or review of a club premises certificate. Applications for review are in the public domain and form part of the published licensing register.
Who are the responsible authorities?
- Hampshire Constabulary
- Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service
- Hampshire County Council Trading Standards Service
- Hampshire County Council Child Protection
- Hampshire County Council Public Health
- Health and Safety Executive (where they have responsibility for health & safety at work enforcement at the premises)
- Maritime and Coastguard Agency (where the premises comprise a vessel)
Eastleigh Borough Council Services:
- Environmental Health
- Planning (Development Control Unit)
What can responsible authorities and other persons make applications for review about?
Only review applications that relate to at least one of the four licensing objectives can be considered. The licensing objectives are:
The prevention of crime and disorder
The prevention of public nuisance
The protection of children from harm
Review applications must clearly relate to the premises for which the review application is being made. For example, representations on the basis of general noise and disturbance, without evidence of a causal link to specific premises, are unlikely to be persuasive.
What does the applicant for review need to do?
It is the responsibility of the applicant for review to complete the prescribed form in full (see below), and to serve the original on the licensing authority, send copies to each of the responsible authorities (see guidance below) and to the holder of the premises licence or club secretary. Failure to fully complete the form and serve the copies on each responsible authority and the premises licence holder as required will render the application void.
Will every review application be considered?
If the review application is otherwise valid, the Council is obliged to consider whether the review is frivolous, vexatious or repetitious.
As a general rule, frivolous representations are likely to lack seriousness. This does not mean that a trivial complaint would always be considered frivolous, but it must be serious and be of some substance; it must also relate to one or more of the licensing objectives.
Vexatious representations may, for example, arise because of disputes between rival businesses.
A review application will be repetitious if it is identical or substantially similar to a ground of a previous review or representation on an application for the same premises, and a reasonable interval has not elapsed since the previous consideration by the Council. Statutory guidance suggests that 12 months may be a "reasonable interval" in most circumstances.
If a review application is declared frivolous, vexatious or repetitious, the application will be rejected and the applicant will be notified of the reasons for the decision. The legislation does not provide any right of appeal against such a decision, other than by way of application for judicial review to the High Court.
What happens if the review application is valid?
The Council will arrange for the display of a notice of the application for review on or adjacent to the premises, at the Civic Offices and at licensing.eastleigh.gov.uk for a period of 28 days (7 days if the review follows a closure by the Police), during which any responsible authority or other person may make a representation about the application.
Can representations be made to every application for review?
Yes, but representations that are irrelevant, frivolous or vexatious must be disregarded, so, on receipt, the Licensing Team will check that the representations can be considered. In border line cases the representations will be placed before the Licensing Panel, who may choose not to consider them.
Petitions in relation to review applications are unlikely to be acceptable unless every page clearly shows the reasons for the petition and each petitioner gives their name, address and signature. In any case, petitions are unlikely to carry as much weight with the Licensing Panel as letters from individuals.
Who should representations be sent to?
Representations, which must be in writing and include your name and full address, should be sent to the Licensing Team at the address below.
The Licensing Team must receive representations no later than the last date specified in the notice of application, as the law does not allow the Council to consider late representations.
What happens when representations are relevant?
A copy of the representations will be sent to the applicant and arrangements will be made for the Licensing Panel to hear the application for review and the representations made to it. Hearings will take place in public, although the Panel may, in certain instances, decide that it is in the best interest of the public to hold hearings in private.
The details of all representations (including the interested parties' names and addresses) will be included in a report that the Licensing Team will prepare for the hearing. These reports are public documents and the Council is required to publish them.
Those making representations will be invited to attend the hearing, as will the applicant for the review and the licence or certificate holder.
The Licensing Team will notify everyone of the date and time of the hearing and provide details of the procedure to be followed at the hearing.
At the hearing, the legislation allows the Licensing Panel to take one or more of the following steps:
to take no further action;
to modify the conditions of the licence;
to exclude a licensable activity from the scope of the licence;
to remove the designated premises supervisor;
to suspend the licence for a period not exceeding three months;
to revoke the licence.
Can responsible authorities and other persons be represented at the hearing?
Yes, but they will need to specifically authorise someone to act on their behalf. Someone who has made a representation could ask, for example, a legal representative or friend, to act on their behalf.
Is a hearing always required?
The legislation requires a hearing in all cases, unless the review application is withdrawn. If possible for all involved agree a resolution in advance of the hearing, the Licensing Panel will determine the review application on the basis of a written report only.
Can representations be withdrawn?
Yes, by giving notice to the Licensing Team no later than 24 hours before the day of the hearing or in person at the hearing.
Who makes the decision?
The Licensing Panel, which will comprise any three of the fifteen elected members of the Council appointed to the Licensing Committee
What can the applicant for review, licence holder, responsible authorities and other persons do if they are unhappy with the decision of the Panel?
They can appeal direct to the Southampton Magistrates' Court within 21 days of the decision of the Licensing Panel. Anyone considering an appeal is strongly advised to take professional legal advice prior to commencing on this potentially costly course of action.
The Southampton Magistrates' Court is at 100 the Avenue, Southampton, SO17 1EY - 'phone 023 8038 4200
Further guidance on reviews is also available from the Home Office – see below. Please note that these functions are administered by Southampton City Council's licensing team on behalf of Eastleigh Borough Council.
Please note that the licensing authority may be required by law to disclose to the appropriate authorities, from time to time, further information relating to applications and licences for the purposes of law enforcement and the prevention of fraud.
Contacting the Licensing Team
Please note that these functions are administered by Southampton City Council's licensing team on behalf of Eastleigh Borough Council.
Telephone: 023 8083 3002 (option 4, then option 1)
Fax: 023 8083 4061
Southampton and Eastleigh Licensing Partnership
PO Box 1767
Southampton and Eastleigh Licensing Partnership
Document Exchange: DX 115710 Southampton 17
Members of the Licensing Team are normally available on weekdays at the Civic Centre, Southampton, from 9am to 12pm and from 2pm to 4pm to assist personal callers.