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    • Niall Hassard - TLT

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Miller Samuel Hill Brown Solicitors handles the full range of contentious and non-contentious licensing work for major brewers and late-night operators, as well as major clients in the pub and restaurant sector (including Nando’s Chickenland, Carluccios and Brewdog). The group acted for Scottish Midland Co-operative Society in its contentious application for a provisional premises licence for its brand, Bargain Booze, which was ultimately granted in early 2018. Highlights on the transactional front included advising Mitchells & Butler Retail on the licencing aspects of its disposal of a large proportion of its Scottish estate, and the Co-operative Group in connection with its acquisition and launch of various new stores across Scotland. The team is led by Jack Cummins ; Audrey Junner and Peter Lawson are the other key names.

The ‘knowledgeable and locally well-connected’ team at TLT  has a broad licensing practice that encompasses food and drink, gambling, private hire transport and retail, as well as complex and contentious civic government licensing applications and appeals. Caroline Loudon currently advises Aldi Supermarkets on licensing matters concerning all 78 of its stores in Scotland and is assisting the client with its planned expansion. A recent highlight for Niall Hassard involved a contentious liquor licence for Iceland Foods in connection with its Food Warehouse concept, after several hearings and despite public objections to the plan. Hassard is also advising a major Scottish Business Improvement District on various traffic, parking, public entertainment, market operators and liquor licence applications. Practice head Stephen McGowan is currently representing Martin McColls in its summary application to appeal the decision to refuse grant of an off sale licence for a shop in East Kilbride.

Brunton Miller is a boutique licensing firm, which predominantly handles liquor licensing matters, but also has a wider practice of civil government-related work, including licensing of houses in multiple occupation, street traders and public entertainment licenses. Archie MacIver and Frank Collins are the key practitioners.

BTO Solicitors LLP ’s practice is led by Nicolas McBride, who stands out for ‘always providing excellent service and solid, reliable advice and guidance’. The firm’s clients include a number of major hotel brands, and it undertakes all liquor and houses in multiple occupation (HMO) licensing for Shearings. It also advises a range of pubs, clubs and restaurant, as well as handling contentious licensing applications. A highlight on the transactional side, the team advised Jewel Trustees on licensing transfers related to the sale of two major Scottish hotels. It also advised Gourmet Burger Kitchen on an application for road consent and pavement license for outdoor drinking areas during the Edinburgh Festival, in addition to performing a detailed assessment of the possible implications of a drinks promotion. Jane Steel and Graeme Kelly are also key contacts.

Morton Fraser ’s team stands out for its ‘thorough understanding of niche licensing law, and ability to make it simple’.  The practice is led by the ‘diligent and tenacious’ David Hossack, who has extensive experience appearing before Scottish Licensing Boards and dealing with licensing appeals and applications. The group is instructed by Diageo on a wide variety of licensing matters and continues to assist a major hotel chain with all aspects of its licensing requirements. In addition, the firm advises a number of public bodies on appeals and resisting appeals against license revocations. It advises Security Industry Authority, in relation to resisting sheriff court appeals following the revocation of individual door stewarding licenses and similarly, City of Edinburgh Council, in all appeals against its licensing decisions. Susan Leslie and Ewan McGillivray are also highly experienced team members

Pinsent Masons LLP  leverages its national presences to provide liquor, gambling and civic government licensing advice to companies in Scotland and throughout the UK. The group works closely with the firm’s real estate, restructuring and corporate teams, and its impressive client roster includes a number of major restaurant and hotel chains. The practice is led by Audrey Ferrie, who has an established reputation within licensing law in Scotland. Highlights for Ferrie included advising Rock DCM on licensing matters in relation to its existing premises and a proposed new project in Glasgow; and advising Erindale SC, the owner of a Taco Bell franchise in Scotland, on obtaining a late hours catering license, despite local objections. The group continues to assist YO! Sushi with the licensing aspects of its expansion in Scotland, and is currently advising a major national supermarket chain on the implications and implementation of the new Minimum Unit Pricing legislation.

Anderson Strathern is noted for providing ‘strong support’ and always giving ‘assured advice, quickly’ to its licensing clients. The practice is led by experienced litigator, Jonathan Guy, who possesses ‘excellent knowledge and experience’ and whose focus is complex licensing court and appeal hearings. The group is retained by McDonald’s and advises the company on various licensing matters throughout Scotland, including various alterations related to its late hours licences. It is also instructed by a number of local authorities with respect to the application of taxi licences and appeals. Other clients include the National Trust for Scotland, Edinburgh Napier University and Dishoom. Senior Associate, Dominic Scullion, is also recommended.

Burness Paull LLP primarily advises pubs and hotel chains on the contentious and non-contentious aspects of liquor licenses. It also assists clients with retail licensing, with particular experience handling applications and transactions with respect to whiskey distilleries. The practice is led by Theresa Hunt, who regularly represents clients in hearings before various Scottish Licensing Boards. Highlights included advising the Hard Rock Café on licensing matters concerning its premises in Glasgow, successfully securing an Extended Hours License for NFL Super Bowl events, despite objections from Police Scotland. Elaine Farquharson-Black assisted L&S (Broadwood) with obtaining a Provisional Premises License for a pub and restaurant unit which forms a part of the client’s Glasgow retail-park development.

Harper Macleod LLP ’s offering is led by Andrew Hunter, who works closely with the firm’s litigation partner, Ross Thomson to advise clients on both contentious and non-contentious aspects of licensing work. In a major highlight, Hunter assisted Lidl with obtaining eight new store licences in Scotland and advised the company on the licensing aspects of alcohol-related promotions and offers. The firm acts for fuel distributer, Malthurst Petroleum on various matters, including with respect to the sale of a petrol filling station in Pitlochry. It also assists Aberdeen Taxis with compliance with the City of Aberdeen Council’s new ‘knowledge test’ for new driver applicants and renewals. Stewart MacGregor joined the Lerwick office from Kippen Campbell LLP in January 2018 and has extensive experience in alcohol and civic government licensing issues.

Shepherd and Wedderburn’s team predominantly handles licensing matters arising out of its real estate and construction practice. Its clients include several major players in the retail and leisure sectors, including major store, hotel and restaurant operators. Highlights for Hugh Smith included successfully advising Sainsbury’s on problematic licensing issues in relation to planning and building documentation, which impacted its ability to sell alcohol – in addition to representing the client against an NHS objection to a planned increase in the capacity of a kiosk in one of its Edinburgh stores. On the transactional side, associate Lynn Simpson supported the real estate team in advising the Richmond Park Hotel on the premises license transfer in conjunction with the hotel’s sale. Elaine Brailsford successfully achieved a major variation of a Premises License before the Licensing Board for a restaurant owned by MD Milne, despite the premises being located within a designated overprovision area.

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