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We pride ourselves on our practical approach to licensing, taking great care to familiarise ourselves with our clients’ businesses and using this knowledge to provide a bespoke approach to all our clients’ licensing needs.
We have advised a broad range of clients, including major cultural institutions and entertainment venues, hotels, restaurants, casinos and in-house legal departments, on all aspects of liquor and entertainment licensing law.
We have extensive experience in undertaking all types of licensing work including: applications to licensing authorities for new premises licences and to vary existing premises licences, personal licences, temporary event notices, interim authority notices, provisional statements, transfers, variations of designated premises supervisors and applications for review. A significant aspect of our licensing work involves informed negotiation with responsible authorities in order to avoid expensive, contested public hearings, wherever possible.
We are regularly instructed to provide strategic advice and specialist due diligence to clients who are acquiring or disposing of licensed premises, including advising on the drafting of appropriate clauses in leases and agreements for lease.
Our approach is to be transparent about our pricing and, where possible, we will seek to agree a fixed fee or fee range in relation the work we undertake for you.
Premises licence applications are often unpredictable which means that our fees can vary significantly depending on the complexities of an application. To assist you, we set out below our fee estimates for the following types of licensing applications:
- an application for a new premises licence; and
- an application for a full variation of a premises licence.
We also set out below what is included and excluded from our fee estimate and the disbursements you should expect to pay.
Simple application: likely to be between £2,500 and £5,000 plus VAT and disbursements. Simple applications may include:
- an uncontested application for a new premises licence for premises which will not sell alcohol, or for uncontroversial “restaurant-conditioned” premises; or
- an uncontested application to vary an existing premises licence by amending the plans attached to the premises licence (where the variations would not constitute a “minor” variation).
Medium complexity: likely to be between £4,000 and £10,000 plus VAT and disbursements. Applications of medium complexity may include:
- an application for a new premises licence (including the sale of alcohol) within the local licensing authority’s “core” licensing hours and where the premises are in a location which is not within a cumulative impact area and is unlikely to attract opposition; or
- an application to vary a premises licence to amend licensable activities or licensing hours within “core” licensing hours, and for premises in a location which is not within a cumulative impact area and is unlikely to attract opposition.
High complexity: usually from £5,000 to £15,000 plus VAT and disbursements. Applications of high complexity may include:
- an application for a new premises licence outside “core” licensing hours and/or in a location which is within a cumulative impact area;
- an application to vary a premises licence to amend licensable activities or licensing hours outside “core” licensing hours, and/or the premises is in a location which is within a cumulative impact area;
- applications which deviate from local licensing policy;
- premises within highly residential areas;
- high profile and/or large premises;
- large-scale public events; or
- premises likely to attract opposition.
These are examples only and it may be the case that what we initially anticipate to be a “simple” application could become a “medium” or “high” complexity application, if circumstances change.
Our estimated fees for these applications include:
- Taking your instructions in correspondence, by telephone and at meetings.
- Advising you on your licensing requirements and the steps you can take to promote the licensing objectives within your application.
- Advising you on the plans to accompany your application, including liaising with your designers to obtain suitable plans. We will not charge you for the printing of plans up to size A3.
- Providing guidance on the application fee payable to the licensing authority.
- Drafting the application form and other supporting documentation to be submitted with the application.
- For an application for a new premises licence, preparing the consent form for the proposed designated premises supervisor.
- Preparing full copies of the application and submitting to the responsible authorities either in hard copy or online.
- Providing you with notices to display on the premises and advising you on timescales for the display. Where you are unable to display these on site yourselves, we can arrange for a local agent to do so on your behalf (please see disbursements).
- Making arrangements for the required advertising of the application in a local newspaper via a third party agent (please see disbursements).
- Dealing with or advising you in relation to initial queries, objections or representations received from either the responsible authorities or other interested parties. If an application becomes protracted and/or proceeds to a contested public hearing, we will discuss further fees with you.
- At the end of the 28-day consultation period, we will contact the licensing authority to confirm whether any objections have been received (if not already known) or that the application has been granted.
- Checking the premises licence once received from the licensing authority and liaising with the authority to correct any errors.
- Providing you with a copy of the premises licence to display at the premises.
- Retaining your original premises licence on our master files for safekeeping.
What our estimated fees do not include:
- Attending any pre-consultation meetings or telephone calls with the licensing authority, responsible authorities or other interested parties, or preparing written submissions for pre-application advice. Any charge made by the licensing authority for pre-consultation meetings or advice will be charged as a disbursement. Such meetings are not always necessary, particularly in the case of “simple” applications.
- Advising on planning matters.
- Researching or advising you on the licensing history of the premises and/or other licensed premises in the local vicinity.
- Advising on varying the licence further following the submission or grant of an application.
- Dealing with or advising you further in relation to queries, objections or representations received from either the responsible authorities or other interested parties once the application has become protracted and/or proceeds to a contested public hearing.
- Attendance and representation at a licensing sub-committee hearing of the local council. If representations are received and attendance and representation at a licensing sub-committee is required, then we will provide a separate fee estimate for this work.
- Travel to and from meetings and/or a hearing. Travel costs will be charged at cost as a disbursement.
Disbursements are costs related to your matter which are payable to third parties, such as the licensing authority’s application fee. The disbursements for an application for a new premises licence and variation of an existing premises licence may include (but are not limited to):
- The local authority application fee: Application fees are based on the rateable value of your premises – you can check your rateable value here. See here for main fee levels under the Licensing Act 2003 for applications for new premises licences and applications to vary premises licences. Additional fees may apply for large-scale venues.
- Pre-application advice (where appropriate): This will depend on the licensing authority. We will give you an accurate figure for this as soon as we are able to do so.
- Newspaper advertisement fees: These vary according to the relevant local newspaper, but are likely to be in the range of £250 to £500 plus VAT.
- Agent fees for displaying notices: If you are unable to display the notices on site yourself, we can instruct an agent to do so. Their fees vary depending on the premises and where they are located. We will give you an accurate figure as soon as we can.
- Postage: Any application that is not submitted online will be sent by special delivery post or courier so we can track delivery. Courier costs will depend on distance and time. Special delivery costs are likely to be between £6.25 and £75 plus VAT.
- Travel and accommodation: Travel to and from meetings and/or a hearing and hotel accommodation will be charged at cost and will be subject to VAT.
- Counsel’s fees: Fees for Counsel to represent you at a contested public hearing will be charged at cost and will be subject to VAT.
We will be in a position to submit your application for a new premises licence/to vary an existing premises licence once we have received all necessary information from you, including acceptable plans of the premises, a payment on account of disbursements, and once the draft application form has been approved by you.
Once an application is submitted, there is a 28-day consultation period during which interested parties can make “representations”. If no representations are made, the licensing authority can grant the application. If there are representations, the licensing authority should hold a public hearing within 20-working days of the expiry of the consultation period, at which the application will be determined, however some licensing authorities take longer to list hearings.
The Liquor & Entertainment department at Harris Hagan is led by Francesca Burnett-Hall, an Associate, who has over 15 years’ experience in licensing and divides her time between licensing and gambling regulatory work. She works on licensing matters including all types of application under the Licensing Act 2003, and advises clients in relation to the acquisition of new premises, including reviewing property documents such as leases and agreements for leases.
Francesca is assisted by Lucy Paterson and Jessica Wilson, who are Associates, and Yue-Ting Fung and Michelle French, who are Paralegals.