Appeal against an alcohol licensing decision

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of a licensing hearing where you were the applicant or an objector, you can appeal against our decision.

You can appeal about a decision on an application for a:

  • Premises licence
  • Club premises certificate
  • Variation to an existing licence or certificate
  • Review of an existing licence or certificate
  • Temporary event notice (TEN)
  • Provisional statement
  • Transfer of premises licence
  • Variation to specify a new designated premises supervisor (DPS)

Who can appeal against an alcohol licensing decision

Any person or body has the right to appeal against our decision in the courts - as long as they made relevant representations about the original licence application  (or a variation or review of a licence), or they are the applicant.

They can appeal if they think:

  • We should or should not have granted the licence
  • We should have imposed different, less or extra conditions on the licence
  • A licensable activity should have been excluded or included from the licence
  • We should not or should have agreed to the 'designated premises supervisor' (this is not relevant for a club premises certificate)
  • There was an irregularity in our procedures and this affected the decision (for example, the licensing sub-committee failed to comply with the hearings regulations)

How to appeal against an alcohol licensing decision

You should appeal in writing to the designated officer for the magistrates' court in the area where the premises is situated. In Rushmoor, this is usually:

Aldershot Magistrates Court
Court House, Civic Centre, Wellington Avenue, Aldershot, Hampshire, GU11 1NY
DX 145110 Aldershot 4
aldermcenquiry@hiow.mcs.gsi.gov.uk
Tel: 01252 366000
Fax: 01252 330877

You must appeal within 21 days of being formally told of our decision. If you attend the hearing when the decision is announced, the 21 days starts from this date.

The appeal must only deal with the likely impact of our decision on any of the four licensing objectives:

  • The prevention of crime and disorder
  • Public safety
  • The prevention of public nuisance
  • The protection of children from harm

You should contact the magistrates' court to check how to make an appeal. There is usually a fee when you lodge an appeal.

What happens if you appeal

The courts do not usually delay the implementation of the licensing decision, unless the application is to review a licence.

Our decision will take effect immediately, until we know the outcome of the appeal.

Once an appeal has been made

The magistrates' court has three options after receiving an appeal. It can:

  • Dismiss the appeal
  • Substitute the decision for any other decision we could have made as the licensing authority
  • Send the case back to us and tell us how to deal with it

Usually, there is an initial hearing at the magistrates' court. At this time the court will decide if there is a case and if it will hear the case or sent it back to us to deal with.

If the court decides to hear the matter itself, it will normally adjourn to a 'full hearing' date when it will have the time to decide the case.

Procedure at an appeal hearing

We, as the licensing authority, and the licence holder (or applicant) will be the 'respondents' to appeals. We will normally be present at appeal hearings.

Those who made representations should contact the court to find out whether they need to appear at a hearing. It may be possible for you to give written evidence to the court instead. However, magistrates' courts can insist that you attend in person, so you must seek agreement in advance.

The person appealing would normally open the case and call his or her witnesses. However, in licensing cases, the court may invite the respondents (the licence or certificate holder) to speak first, if everyone agrees.

This is to help the court understand how we came to our licensing decision in the first place. Usually, anyone at an appeal hearing can call on witnesses to support their case (for example, other local residents or responsible authorities such as the police).

Please note that in cases where a licence applicant or licence holder appeals against our decision, any responsible authorities (such as the police) and any other person who made representations will not usually be classed as 'respondents' at appeal hearings, under the terms of the Licensing Act 2003.

However, in such cases, people who made representations can ask that the court make them a respondent, or we can call on them as a 'witness' to back up the decision we made.

Standard of evidence

Appellants should seek legal representation and / or contact the relevant court for further advice.

Legal costs

If you appeal against our licensing decision and you are unsuccessful, the court can award costs against you. This would mean you have to pay other parties' legal costs as well as your own.

However, the Magistrates' Association and the Justices' Clerks Society have said that awarding costs for a licensing appeal should be an exception, not a rule, and any resident with reasonable grounds for an appeal should not be penalised.

What happens after the court hearing

The court tells all interested parties of its decisions, and the reasons, within three working days.

There is no further opportunity to appeal against this decision.

 
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