This guidance describes how to apply for a review of a premises licence or club premises certificate, under the Licensing Act 2003. It also contains information about the hearings process that follows.
A responsible authority or any other person may apply for a review of a licence or certificate that is in force. We may reject the application for review we are satisfied that the grounds for review are not relevant to one or more of the licensing objectives:
- the prevention of crime and disorder
- Public safety
- the prevention of public nuisance
- the protection of children from harm
We can reject any ground for review from an individual if we consider it to be frivolous, vexatious or repetitious.
What does frivolous or vexatious mean?
Frivolous or vexatious will bear their ordinary meaning. Whether representations are frivolous or vexatious will be for the licensing authority to determine. For example, the licensing authority might find the representations were vexatious if they arise because of disputes between rival businesses or frivolous if they clearly lacked seriousness.
What does repetitious mean?
A repetitious representation is one that is identical or substantially similar to:
A ground for review in an earlier application, which has already been determined (our register of licences will include all applications for reviews made to us in the past)
Representations considered by us when the premises licence was first granted
Representations made when the application for the premises licence was first made and were excluded because of the prior issue of a provisional statement
In addition to the above grounds, a reasonable interval has not elapsed since an earlier review of the grant of the licence
The review process is not intended to be used simply as a second bite of the cherry following the failure of representations to persuade us on earlier occasions. It is for us to judge what should be regarded as a “reasonable interval” in these circumstances. However, the Secretary of State (in guidance to licensing authorities) suggests that more than one review from an interested party should not be permitted within a period of 12 months on similar grounds, save in compelling circumstances (for example, where new problems have arisen) or where it arises following a closure order.
Applicants calling for a review cannot apply for a review anonymously - even if somebody else (for example, a local MP or councillor) is applying for a review on their behalf. If applicants are concerned about possible intimidation, they could consider asking the police, or another appropriate responsible authority to apply for a review on their behalf.
Before applying for a review, applicants may want to consider whether their concern(s) could be effectively dealt with outside of the formal review process. This could involve, for example:
- Talking to the licence or certificate holder to determine whether there are any steps they may be willing to take to rectify the situation
- Asking us to talk to the licensee on your behalf
- Asking your local MP or councillor to speak to the licence or certificate holder on your behalf
- Talking to the relevant responsible authority (for example, environmental health in relation to noise nuisance, or the police in relation to crime and disorder) to determine whether there is other legislation that could help resolve the issue
Things you may want to consider when seeking a review:
- It may be helpful to get the backing of other people living, or businesses operating in the vicinity of the premises, or other responsible authorities
- Look at our official records about the premises kept in the licensing register. This will show you if other people have made representations or asked for a review of a premises in the past
- If you are thinking of raising a petition, it is important to include names and addresses and indicate clearly on what grounds a review is being applied for. It would also help if a spokesperson could volunteer to receive details about the hearings from us and may be willing to speak on behalf of the petitioners at the hearing.
- If you want to ask another person such as an MP or local councillor to represent you at the review, it is advisable to make such a request in writing so that the individual can demonstrate he or she was asked. It will be a matter for the MP or councillor to decide whether they should agree to your request. They are not obliged to do so, however, most elected representatives are happy to help residents with this sort of issue, and there is no requirement for them to live in the vicinity of the premises in question for them to be able to make representations on behalf of residents that do. It should be noted that councillors who are part of the licensing committee hearing the application will not be able to discuss the application with you outside the formal hearing, so it is suggested that you do not approach them to try to.
- For individual incidents, try to get as much information as possible about any official response (for example, police being called out).
- You may also be able to back up your application with data such as crime statistics. However, it should be noted that conditions attached to licences cannot seek to manage the behaviour of customers once they are beyond the direct management of the licence holder and his/her staff or agents, but they can seek to control the behaviour of customers on the premises or in the immediate vicinity of the premises as they seek to enter or leave.
- If there is general noise nuisance on streets because of licensed premises, you will probably need to show how it relates to the specific premises.
- It is important to be able to back up your claims. You could do this by keeping a diary over a period of time, for example. Sound or video recordings may also be helpful. It may also be a while before any hearing, so it is good to keep a clear record.
- Residents or businesses applying for a review following a particular incident should be cautious, as a licensee may argue that this was a one off problem that can be rectified without a review.
- Have a good idea how you’d like the situation to be resolved.
Applying for a review
An application for the review of a premises licence or club premises certificate must be given in writing and be in the prescribed application form, which is available to print or download on our apply for a review of a premises licence page.
Filling in the form
In the opening statement you should give the name of the person applying for the review – for example, John Smith. You should also indicate whether you are applying for the review of a premises licence or club premises certificate by deleting, as applicable.
Part 1 – Premises or club premises details
This section asks for the address and some other details of the premises concerned in the review. If the premises have no postal address you should describe the location of the premises or give the ordnance survey map reference.
You are also asked to give the name of the premises licence holder or club and the licence number. This information should be available on the summary of the licence or certificate, which will be displayed at the premises, concerned in the review, or may be available on request from us.
Part 2 – applicant details
This section asks you to indicate in what capacity you are applying for a review. As an individual you must be able to tick at least one of the boxes under (1), then complete section (A) – Details of individual applicant, and if applicable, section (B) – Details of other applicant section (C) is for responsible authorities.
An application for a review of a licence or certificate must be about the effect the licence is having on at least one of the four licensing objectives (see above). You should indicate which licensing objective(s) the application relates to.
You should state the ground(s) for review, and provide as much information as possible to support the application. You may use extra sheets of paper if necessary. Details may include, for example, dates that problems occurred and how the problem affected you.
You should state whether you have made an application for a review relating to this premises before, and give the further details of any representations you have made previously relating to this premises. This information will be used to determine whether the application for a review is repetitious (see above).
Check list and declaration
The person or body requesting the review must notify the holder of the premises licence or club premises certificate and each responsible authority of their request, by sending them a copy of the application, together with any accompanying documents, on the same day as the application is given to the licensing authority. Responsible authorities can then, if they wish, join or back up your application for review, or use the opportunity to make their own application for a review on different grounds. We also have to advertise the review to enable others to join it.
By ticking the check list on the review form you are making a declaration that you have carried out the listed actions.
Responsible authorities include the following, for the area in which the premises are situated:
- Devon and Cornwall Police
- Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service
- Our planning service
- Our environmental health services (or HSE)
- Devon Trading Standards
- Devon Area Child Protection
- Public Health Devon
- And – In respect of vessels only - i) The Environment Agency ii) The British Waterways Board iii) The Maritime and Coastguard Agency and if different from these, iv) the relevant navigation authority / authorities for the place(s) where the vessel is usually moored or berthed or any waters where it is proposed to be navigated at a time when it is used for licensable activities.
Full address details of the responsible authorities can be found on our website on our responsible authority contacts page.
The application form must be signed. An applicant’s agent (for example a solicitor) may sign the form on their behalf, provided they have authority to do so. Where there is more than one applicant, both applicants, or their respective agents, must sign the form.
What happens after a request for a review has been made?
We must advertise requests for a review of a licence or certificate. We will do this by displaying a notice at the premises that is subject to review, and at our offices, for 28 consecutive days starting the day after the day on which the application is given to us. We may also advertise the review on their website. Other interested parties and responsible authorities then have this period of 28 consecutive days starting the day after the day on which the application was given to make representations about the review.
If the request for a review is not rejected then we must hold a hearing to consider the application, unless all parties agree that this is unnecessary. For example, we may offer to try to resolve matters via a negotiated agreement outside a formal hearing. You will need to decide if this is appropriate for you but you can, of course, insist upon the hearing.
We will write to you with the date and time of the hearing and will inform you of the procedure to be followed at the hearing.
As the person or body requesting the review, you are required to give notice to the licensing authority at least five working days before the start of the hearing, stating:
- Whether you will attend the hearing in person
- Whether you will be represented by someone else (for example, councillor / MP / lawyer)
- Whether you think that a hearing is unnecessary (if, for example you have come to an agreement before the formal hearing)
- Any request for another person to attend the hearing, including how they may be able to assist us in relation to the application
You must let us know as soon as possible (by written notice no later than 24 hours before the start of a hearing, or orally at the hearing) if you want to withdraw your application.
Hearings will generally be held in public, unless we decide it is in the public interest to hold all, or part of the hearing in private. We will ensure that a record is taken of the hearing.
Hearings will normally take the form of a discussion and will consist of three east devon district councillors (this will be a licensing sub-committee drawn from the 15 councillors who make up our licensing and enforcement committee). We will explain the procedure and determine any request for additional persons to appear at the hearing. The sub-committee will consider evidence produced in support before the hearing and can consider evidence produced by a party at the hearing, but only if all parties agree. Further evidence can also be produced if this was sought for clarification of an issue by us before the hearing. Cross-examination of another party during a hearing is not allowed, unless we think it necessary. The parties are entitled to address the sub-committee and will be allowed equal time to address the sub-committee and, if they have been given permission by the sub-committee to do so, they will be given equal time to ask any questions of any other party. The sub- committee will disregard any information it considers to be irrelevant.
It is important that you consider what you are going to say at the hearing, as the licence or certificate holder and the committee will have seen your application for review, and may get the chance to question what you are saying.
Please note: A hearing can still go ahead in the absence of any party (for example, applicant or interested party)
What happens after a hearing?
A decision will normally be made on completion of the hearing but if no decision is made at the hearing, the sub-committee has a maximum of five days from the day or the last day of the hearing to come to a decision. Following a review, a sub-committee may:
- Decide that no action is necessary to promote the licensing objectives
- Modify or add conditions to the licence
- Exclude a licensable activity from the licence
- Remove the designated premises supervisor
- Suspend the licence for a period (not exceeding three months)
- Revoke the licence
If you have any queries about applying for a review please contact us.