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Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP  provides ‘professional and responsive service and has the ability to assist on a broad range of licensing matters’; the team's ‘in-depth knowledge of legislation and years of experience enables it to bring examples to life and offer advice based on past experience’. The firm regularly advises on licensing for large developments - the Olympic Park Development and the Nova Scheme in Victoria being notable highlights - and also assists various operator clients with the full range of liquor and gambling licensing matters. Other work examples included continuing to advise TGI Fridays on the procurement of new licenses across the country, including stress areas such as Westminster and minimum pricing areas such as Newcastle, and assisting the Montcalm Hotel group in relation to the revocation of a street trading licence. The team is headed by Craig Baylis and includes Jeremy Bark, who is  ‘a dedicated and extremely knowledgeable lawyer’.

Keystone Law's licensing practice has developed significantly since the arrival of Andrew Wong  and Gareth Hughes  from Gordon Dadds LLP in October 2016. Wong is praised as being ‘a real star’ who ‘looks for solutions to achieve the apparently impossible’, while Hughes is described as ‘first class.’ Robert Sutherland  is the other key name to note. The team recently advised on securing the grant of a new 24 hour licence for the new Koko and Hope Project in the heart of the Camden stress area; secured the grant of a 5am licence for a new venue Bloc South against Lambeth Councils licensing policy; and assisted the Royal National Theatre with restructuring of the premises licence following addition of new land to the site and change of hours and refreshing conditions with local residential opposition. The firm also counts high-end London hotels and restaurants as clients.


Thomas & Thomas Partners LLP

Thomas and Thomas Partners are an award winning boutique licensing law firm recognised by the leading legal directories, including The Legal 500, as London’s leading licensing practice. We act for the crème de la crème of London’s licensed premises.

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Poppleston Allen  ‘is a firm that has a real industry specialism’. The firm acts for a wide range of well-known restaurants, hotels and venues nationwide, and is regularly instructed on planning and property acquisitions, redevelopment projects and licensing-related enforcement matters. In a recent highlight, the team acted for Eataly, an international restaurant brand, in its first London site opening. The firm continues to advise The Ivy Group on its licensing needs including securing new premises licences and licence variations for its rapid expansion of 24 restaurants. Key practitioners include Clare Eames, who has a ‘second-to-none’ understanding of client business and whose ‘anticipation of the businesses needs and strategic aims is exemplary’; and Lisa Inzani, who is ‘utterly reliable and goes beyond what would be expected for trusted clients’.

Dedicated licensing firm Thomas & Thomas Partners LLP  provides ‘professionally considered, accurate and valuable advice’. Recent work includes acting for the Hackney Arts Centre on obtaining a new 2am licence contrary to policy and local opposition. The firm also advised Shaftesbury on the redevelopment of several restaurant units. Key practitioners include Thomas O’Maoileoin  and Alun Thomas , who offer ‘excellent commercial acumen and ability to deal with complex stakeholder environments’. Other key clients include Ellipsis Entertainment, 85 Piccadilly and the Royal Academy of Music.

TLT's  ‘excellent’ team provides ‘succinct and strategic service with great outcomes and good value,’ advising on bespoke licensing for a vast array of nightclubs, restaurants and hotels, and obtaining grants and variations from Westminster’s licensing authority. The department is headed by Julian Skeens, who is ‘a doyen of licensing’. He recently acted on securing a new premises licence for the £300m Manhattan Loft Gardens project in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and advised the Blakes Hotel on a mediation meeting following complaints and threats of a review of a premises licence. Luke Elford is a ‘hardworking, street-wise up-and-coming licensing lawyer’.

Gordon Dadds LLP's licensing practice is noted for handling a variety of work on breach of license cases, licence reviews and criminal proceedings on behalf of landlords and licensees. The group recently acted for The Oxford Union Debating Society in a successful application for a variation of premises certificate within Oxford City Council’s Cumulative Impact Zone, and acted for The Camden Town Brewery to obtain a new premises licence for its new site in Enfield. Lead licensing practitioners include Philip Somarakis and Andrew Cotton.

Joelson has a strong presence in the alcohol, entertainment and late-night refreshment fields, advising on the full gamut of license applications including new premises licences, variations to existing licences, reviews and interim authority notices. The practice is praised for being ‘a very good all-round licensing practice covering gambling and alcohol/entertainment work’. Key figure Niall McCann regularly appears before courts and local authorities in contentious licensing matters; recent highlights include acting for the Dulwich Picture Gallery in respect of an application for a large outside summer pavilion in its grounds. Richard Williams has notable expertise in remote and land-based gambling and cryptocurrency. He recently defended B&M in successfully obtaining highly contested premises licences and also defending health and safety, food safety and product safety prosecutions. Williams also advises on taxi and firearms licensing, and has handled alcohol licensing matters for both national and off-license retailers.

One of the leaders in the field in the centre of London,’ Lana Tricker, key practitioner of LT Law  ‘combines considerable experience of the industry with a personable and approachable manner’. Highlights included successfully obtaining a variation on the premises licence for The Ned in the City of London to extend the trading area and double the capacity of the basement bar for the Sydell Group/Soho House Group partnership; obtaining two new premises licences for the London Cocktail Club, both beyond core hours. Other key longstanding clients include Charlie Berkeley, Five Points Brewing Company and Paper London.

Winckworth Sherwood LLP  is noted for its expertise in the supermarket and petrol forecourt sectors, and the firm’s work also includes pubs and restaurants, hotels and entertainment venues. Sabrina Cader advises on license applications for supermarkets, public houses and hotels across England and Wales, and also represents clients at contested hearings. Robert Botkai  heads the licensing team.

Dadds LLP Licensing Solicitors  primarily acts for London-based clients in contentious licensing matters, appearing regularly before the High Court and the Court of Appeal and advising on licence review hearings. The firm’s client base includes a mix of multinational operators, local government authorities, independent pub chains and small businesses, and the team also represents local residents in oppositions to licence grants. The key practitioners are David Dadds and Natasha Nunn.

Pinsent Masons LLP's  ‘very good’ practice advises on liquor and gambling licensing across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The team has a wide range of clients including Asda Stores, Harrods and Mint Festival, and has substantial advocacy and litigation capabilities. Highlights included acting for Aviva in successfully applying for a shadow alcohol premises licence for a restaurant it owns; successfully acting for Harrods to extend its restaurant hours and to move the wine shop area in the famous Brompton Road Store; and advising Pizza Express throughout the process of renewing the liquor licences for its Northern Irish restaurant portfolio. Liquor licensing specialist Audrey Ferrie heads the department.

Squire Patton Boggs  is praised as ‘excellent, extremely professional and efficient’, advising a mix of clients in the transport, hospitality, sports and leisure and retail sectors. New clients include Dalata Hotels and The London & Regional Hotel group. The firm currently manages all aspects of Select Service Partners’ licensed estate, which included several mainline station units, international airports and Center Parcs, and also acts for One Stop Stores in contested matters brought by local residents and police authorities. Practice head Stephanie Perraton ‘is technically knowledgeable, highly competent and very approachable’ and Nicola Smith is ‘superb’.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP  lost its practice head Ewen MacGregor in February 2018, when he left to join the regulatory and licensing practice at Gregg Latchams LLP in Bristol. The firm's key clients include Gala Leisure, Ambassador’s Theatre Group and Racing Post. The team also provides a full alcohol and gambling offering across England, Scotland and Wales, and frequently advises online gaming operators on various licensing matters. Key contacts are Jon Cooper and Stuart Wardlaw, who are both partners in the firm's regulatory group.

Goodman Derrick LLP  is ‘an extremely competent firm whose licensing work flows from its top-notch commercial property work’. The team recently advised Counterculture Bars on a successful application to vary its premises licence at to extend its hours of operation, and loosen the restaurant conditions, and also assisted Skylight Leisure Limited with the permitted variation of the premises licence held for Simmons Soho. Nice Bars and The Natural Kitchen are also key clients. The ‘highly experiencedJames Daglish  leads the practice. Other Key practitioners include solicitors Ellie Spencer, Daniel Shein and Susie Prowse .

Taylor Wessing LLP's licensing practice is focused on the gaming and betting sector and counts digital entertainment plc, Amaya, Cashcade Limited and as major industry clients. Led by Graham Hann, head of IT, Telecoms and Competition, Mark Owen, head of IP and Media and partners Glyn Morgan and Chris Jeffery. The firm’s highlight include continuing to advise digital entertainment plc on its online gaming services in the US  through a major tie up with Boyd Gaming and Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa and handling the trade mark and copyright/design disputes for Amaya’s brands which include PokerStars, Full Tilt, BetStars, StarsDraft.

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