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Who Represents Who

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Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP provides ‘comprehensive advice’ and ‘builds a great relationship with clients, taking the time to really understand their business, culture and values, which makes it an integral extension to the team’. 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 advising 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 the group also assisted Tesco with technical issues in relation to its online models and successfully dealt with opposed licensing hearings around England and Wales. The team is headed by the ‘practical and effectiveCraig Baylis, and key lawyer Jeremy Bark is ‘well respected throughout the industry, and has an extensive network of contacts’.

Poppleston Allen provides an ‘exemplary’ service and ‘highly valuable advice which the client trusts implicitly’. 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 Stonegate Pub Company in several significant acquisitions; these included the acquisition of ten premises from JD Wetherspoon, and of two sites owned and operated by Punch Taverns. The firm also advised Chelsea Flower Show on obtaining its Premises Licence for food and beverage outlets, and assisted The Dice Bar with a high-profile license application following a police review asking for a revocation. Key practitioners include Clare Eames, who has recently advised on licensing matters with regards to various outdoor events including Mutiny 2015 and Masterpiece London, and the ‘personable and professionalLisa Inzani, whose ‘knowledge of each borough’s licensing authority is invaluable’.

FIRMS IN THE SPOTLIGHT

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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Specialist licensing firmThomas & Thomas Partners LLP has ‘an exceptional roster of clients’ and ‘a complete understanding of the industry and of business objectives’, and the team ‘always strives to achieve the best possible outcome’. Recent work included acting for Damian Hirst’s new art venue, the Newport Street Gallery, where the team successfully obtained a license following opposition from councillors and local residents. The firm also advised The Kensington Roof Gardens, owned by Virgin, on a license review brought by police following reports of crime and disorder, and assisted The Union with the procurement of a new license to extend their premises. Leading practitioners include Thomas O’Maoileoin, an ‘expert in the field who is always pragmatic and friendly to deal with’, and ‘exceptional lawyerAlun Thomas, whose ‘advice is invariably carefully considered, astute, strategic and highly commercial’. Other key clients include Four Seasons Hotels, Bowerhouse and the Royal Academy of Music.

Blake Morgan LLP provides ‘a truly exceptional level of service in an efficient and friendly manner’, and the team is ‘always supportive, accommodating and flexible to all requests that are made, which allows the client to make an effective and informed decision’. The firm is instructed by a diverse range of leisure and retail clients, and also manages estates for various national operators dealing with new licenses and variations. The group currently manages the estate of Waitrose, dealing with new license applications, variations and temporary event notices to extend trading hours, and also advises John Lewis on licensing matters with regards to their stores in England, Scotland and Wales. In another highlight, the team recently advised Cathedral Hotels on applications for new premises licenses for a new development comprised of a four-star hotel, two concession restaurants and a conference centre. Jon Wallsgrove heads the team, and is ‘a knowledgeable advocate who provides clear and concise advice’.

Gordon Dadds LLP provides ‘a very good service and excellent value for money’, advising on breach of license cases, license reviews and criminal proceedings on behalf of landlords and licensees. The group recently acted for DSTRKR Nightclub following a serious assault by a suspected drug dealer, successfully preventing a license review in favour of a minor variation, and represented Devonshire Square Club in its bid to obtain a marriage license for one of its venues. Philip Somarakis is ‘always willing to go the extra mile’. Other key clients include BAFTA, Ping Pong and Camden Town Brewery.

TLT’s ‘excellent’ team provides ‘a professional and effective service for a reasonable price’, 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 ‘the vastly experienced and well-connected’ Julian Skeens, who recently acted for Nobu Hotel on its license application for a luxury hotel in Shoreditch, and also advised the Ministry of Sound Gym on a new premises license for a gym attached to the iconic London nightclub. Other highlights included advising Manhattan Loft Gardens on a license for a hotel in the Olympic park in Newham, and assisting Blakes Hotel with a variation to its premises license at a contentious hearing, which aimed to enable a renovation and substantial extension of its restaurant and bar.

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.

At Bond Dickinson LLP, key clients include Gala Leisure, Ambassador’s Theatre Group and Racing Post, and the team recently advised the latter on its annual statutory inspection of its Tipster Proofing system, and on its reports to the Committee of Advertising Practice. 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. Ewen MacGregor is the key figure, and currently acts for a range of multi-site household names in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.

Dadds LLP Licensing Solicitors acts predominantly for London-based clients in contentious licensing matters, appearing regularly before the High Court and the Court of Appeal and advising on license 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 license grants. Highlights have included successfully acting for The Blue Group in a restaurant license application for a sensitive and controversial location in South Woodford, with a further request that the premises be granted at later hours than current policy allows. The team also advised Club 791 on an expedited review from the Police Service regarding its operations following fourteen serious crimes at the premises. Key individuals include David Dadds and Natasha Nunn.

Joelson maintains a strong presence across England and Wales in the alcohol, entertainment and late-night refreshment fields, advising on the full gamut of license applications including new premises licenses, variations to existing licenses, reviews and interim authority notices. Key figure Niall McCann regularly appears before courts and local authorities in contentious licensing matters, and Richard Williams has notable expertise in remote and land-based gambling and cryptocurrency. Williams also advises on taxi and firearms licensing, and has handled alcohol licensing matters for both national and off-license retailers.

Pinsent Masons LLP’ ‘outstanding’ practice has ‘a broad range of international experience’ and provides ‘great value for money’, advising on liquor and gambling licensing across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The team has a strong base of restaurant sector clients including Wagamama, Yo! Sushi and Pizza Express, and has substantial advocacy and litigation capabilities. Highlights included acting for global distiller Diageo in an application for a premises licence for its central London office; advising KPMG on two applications in relation to a client meeting and entertainment centre and a café; and advising House of Fraser in an opposition to a street trading license application outside its Manchester location. Liquor licensing specialist Audrey Ferrie heads the department.

Goodman Derrick LLP provides ‘solid licensing advice to its existing property clients’. The team recently advised Simmons Mornington Crescent on an application to vary the license for its Camden-based premises to accommodate the sale of alcohol in its outside space, and also assisted the same client with the acquisition of a floor and basement at its Liverpool Street location. Nice Bars and The Natural Kitchen are also key clients, and the firm recently advised the latter on the licensing aspects of its acquisition of a unit in Angel Court, London. The ‘realistic and practicalJames Daglish is ‘very on the ball’ and provides ‘efficient advice to all clients’, and Michael Collins is the other name to note.

Keystone Law saw the arrival of Gareth Hughes and Andrew Wong from Gordon Dadds LLP, which has significantly bolstered the firm’s licensing practice. Wong is praised as being ‘an exceptionally commercially minded lawyer who approaches cases like an entrepreneur’ and ‘combines a realistic approach with a can-do attitude’, and Hughes is described as ‘an experienced and determined licensing practitioner who is known and respected by all sides of the industry’. Robert Sutherland is the other key name to note, and ‘has a great instinct for legal points to fight coupled with an encyclopaedic knowledge of licensing law’. The team recently advised on the licensing aspects of the Deptford Project Regeneration Scheme, a £47m public private partnership with the London Borough of Lewisham, and assisted the board of trustees for the Tate Gallery with a new premises license for the Tate Modern following the completion of a £260m extension. Devonshire Club and Lescargot are also key clients.

A ‘top-class niche specialist licensing firm’, LT Law is ‘extremely responsive, efficient and helpful in all matters’. The ‘meticulous and conscientious’ Lana Tricker is the key practitioner, and is praised for her ‘very fine client skills, hard work and realistic and pragmatic advice’. Highlights included successfully securing a license for Redchurch Apartments, a new hotel in the Soho House Group; gaining an increase in house for Café Monico in the West End despite the Cumulative Impact Policy (CIP); and obtaining a new premises license for the MNKY house in Mayfair. Other key longstanding clients include Charlie Berkeley, Five Points Brewing Company and Paper London.

Squire Patton Boggs’ ‘responsive’ team ‘has an excellent knowledge of licensing and is always thorough in its advice’, advising a mix of clients in the transport, hospitality, sports and leisure and retail sectors. 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 has ‘a depth of knowledge and expertise in the licensing area which is second to none’ and is ‘very approachable, responding to all queries in a timely manner’.

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