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Brunton Miller is particularly rated for its strength in liquor licensing matters but also has a wealth of expertise in civic government matters, such as the assistance with the licensing of houses in multiple occupation, street traders and public entertainment. The practice’s client roster includes JD Wetherspoon, Waitrose, Loch Lomond Golf Club, Lynnet Leisure Group and Genting Casinos. Archie Maciver is a highly regarded figure in the market and Frank Collins is another name to note.

Working in conjunction with the firm’s property, litigation and employment departments, Miller Samuel Hill Brown Solicitors’s ‘accurate, knowledgeable and efficient’ team is known for its wide-ranging expertise, which includes handling contentious applications. The team led by the ‘thorough, pragmatic and responsiveAudrey Junner, who ‘provides solid help’ and frequently acts for large-scale on-trade companies such as brewers and late-night operators but also has a large client base from the pub and restaurant sector. Junner and highly regarded ‘licensing expertJack Cummins advised Stonegate Pubs on a premises licence review investigated by Police Scotland following the death of a patron outside a Stonegate premises in Aberdeen. As another notable contentious matter, the team represented the Co-operative Group in a premises licence review hearing before the East Lothian Licensing Board following three failed test purchase operations at the client’s store in Ormiston. On the non-contentious side, the team acted for City of Glasgow College in obtaining a premises licence for its new multimillion-pound Scholars restaurant facility, and assisted Motor Fuel with its licensing expansion across Scotland. In 2016, the practice obtained six new premises licences for the client’s previously unlicensed garages. BrewDog instructed the firm to obtain permission to extend its Aberdeen Castlegate site to permit an off-sales section. Nuffield Health is another client.

Delivering a superb level of service’, TLTacts in a highly professional manner, from the initial advice through to delivery at licensing boards’. The firm increased its bench strength by adding ‘highly professional’ director Niall Hassard, who ‘goes the extra mile for his clients’, and the ‘very good’ Caroline Loudon, both of whom from Lindsays. With liquor, gambling and taxi licensing forming the central pillars of the firm’s work, renowned team head Stephen McGowan acted for Glasgow-based nightclub The Shed in extending its licence permanently from 2am to 3am on Fridays and Saturdays. He also assisted Betsold with obtaining a remote betting operating licence from the UK Gambling Commission. Essential Edinburgh instructed Hassard to handle the licensing of George Street’s Westerly block for the Edinburgh Festival 2016, which was closed to traffic throughout the event. This included multi-faceted licensing agreements for liquor, public entertainment and cinema, including licensed seating areas for existing bar and restaurant premises. He also assisted Eros Retail with its application for a new provisional premises licence for a convenience store in Dundee, which was subsequently granted after its initial refusal.

Harper Macleod LLP’s ‘very good’ team has substantial experience of advising clients across the food, leisure and hospitality sectors, such as brewers, pub and restaurant companies and operators. Other clients include retailers and operators of hotels and nightclubs. With substantial expertise in advising on civic government, petrol station and convenience store licensing, team head Andrew Hunter assisted BP Oil with an application for a variation of the premises licence for its Kingsway West site in Dundee. As another highlight, the team acted for Certas Energy in obtaining an alcohol licence for the company’s petrol station within Aberdeen Airport’s commercial zone. Lidl instructed the team to proceed with the application for new premises and provisional premises licences for its new stores in Edinburgh, Oban, Greenock, Aberdeen and Stirling. Similarly, the team assisted Claudio Celino – owner of Celino’s Trattoria and Delicatessen – with a new premises licence application alongside a subsequent variation application for new deli licensed premises in Glasgow. Other clients include Hotel Management International and pub retailer and brewer Greene King.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s ‘very responsive, helpful and professional’ team ‘provides expert advice on licensing applications with particular experience in premises licence applications’. The team, consisting of ‘very good communicators’, is also well versed in advising on gambling, restaurant and civic government licensing matters and utilises its strong advocacy and litigation background to represent its clients at Licensing Board and court hearings. ‘Very knowledgeable and experienced’ director Audrey Ferrie acted for The Restaurant Group in applying for a liquor licence for the client’s new restaurant in the Overgate Centre in Dundee, which was granted after a contentious Licensing Board hearing. Among other examples of work, a distiller instructed the team to handle liquor licensing issues pertaining to an Edinburgh-based event. As another highlight, the team assisted its longstanding client Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) with licensing matters pertaining to the Insomnia Gaming Festival at the centre, such as an application for a variation of its existing public entertainment licence to cover additional activities. Senior associate Frances Ennis is ‘very approachable’ and ‘provides hands-on advice’.

Anderson Strathern handles a wide range of licensing issues, including licensing hearings, for hotels, bars and restaurants alongside retail and public sector clients. Recent work includes assistance with a number of provisional premises licence applications and a late-hours catering licence. The team also advised on several liquor licence issues and dealt with the licensing aspects of an acquisition. Litigator Jonathan Guy heads the team.

BTO Solicitors LLP has strong hotel industry expertise and advises clients in the sector on contractual licensing aspects pertaining to leasing arrangements and corporate transactions. Other clients include pubs, clubs and restaurants. Team head Nicolas McBride advised Gourmet Burger Kitchen on the conditional liquor licensing clauses, which are part of the company’s new Glasgow restaurant lease agreement. McBridge also assisted bowling alley provider Lane 7 with licensing provisions under the lease for new licensed premises in Aberdeen, and advised new client Jewel Hotels on licensing aspects of its hotel portfolio in Scotland. As another highlight, the team assisted Shearings Hotels with contractual licensing aspects pertaining to leasing arrangements as part of the client’s lease and sale of two Scottish hotels.

Working in conjunction with the firm’s property and real estate teams, Burness Paull LLP is well versed in handling applications for new premises licences and licence transfer arrangements as part of property sales and purchases. The team is becoming increasingly active in dealing with civic licensing matters, such as public entertainment and caravan park licences. In 2016, the practice advised the wine and spirit company Brown-Forman on licensing matters in support of the client’s acquisition of the BenRiach Distillery. This included assistance with a variation of the premises licence for the distillery to include provision for the sale and consumption of alcohol on the premises as part of distillery tours. Aberdeen-based team head Elaine Farquharson-Black advised leisure company Speratus on licensing matters pertaining to several different venues across Scotland, including securing a premises licence for the new Boozy Cow in Stirling; the latter also included assistance with the transfer of the provisional premises licence to increase the venue’s capacity by altering its layout. Other clients include Signature Pubs and Hard Rock Cafe Glasgow. Farquharson-Black assisted the latter with obtaining a personal licence for the premises manager.

The ‘quick and efficient’ team at Morton Fraser is ‘proactive in dealing with changes in licensing laws and regulations’. The practice frequently acts for private and public sector clients and is particularly known for its licensing appeal practice. Other areas of expertise include premises licensing, licence variations, transfer and audits as well as insolvency-related licensing work. ‘Pragmatic and clear communicator’ David Hossack, who ‘always looks for solutions that suit business needs whilst balancing any risk factors’, continues to represent the City of Edinburgh Council in appeals against licensing decisions taken under the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 and the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982. The Security Industry Authority and Aberdeen City Council are also clients.

Shepherd and Wedderburn deals with contentious and non-contentious licensing matters, including managing and premises licensing, and frequently acts for hotel and restaurant operators alongside leisure and retail industry players. Senior associate Kevin Clancy and associate Lynn Simpson assisted the golf course Trump Turnberry with obtaining a licence to permit the introduction of refreshment buggies, which serve the premises. Hugh Smith advised Dakota Deluxe Hotel Glasgow on the process of obtaining confirmation for the provisional premises licence, and assisted Barburrito with obtaining a new premises licence for its first Scottish restaurant located in Edinburgh. Subsequently, the team dealt with a transfer of an existing provisional premises licence for the client’s restaurant premises in Aberdeen and obtained confirmation of the latter in order to open with a full licence. Similarly, the practice acted for Iberica Food & Culture in obtaining a provisional premises licence for new-build restaurant premises at St Andrew’s Square in Edinburgh. Other clients include New Empire Bingo, Sainsbury and leisure company Speratus. Smith assisted Sainsbury’s and Speratus with premises licence issues.

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