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Poppleston Allen

Work 020 3859 7760
London, Nottingham

Clare Eames

Work 020 3859 7760
Poppleston Allen

Work Department

Alcohol licensing.


Clare Eames acts for blue-chip restaurant chains, pub companies and prominent venues on a range of licensing concerns. According to impressed clients, “she brings the solution rather than the problem; she makes life easy for us."

Sources particularly applaud her skills in contentious proceedings: "You need someone strong to bat things back and keep you open, and she's very good at being calm but firm."

Clare joined Poppleston Allen in 2006 and has over 20 years of licensing experience. Clare spent seven years in licensing at McLellans Solicitors, then in 2004 Clare joined national pub operator JD Wetherspoon as Legal Director overseeing licensing transition under the Licensing Act 2003 and additionally provided strategic advice in respect of planning and property acquisitions.

Currently the joint head of Poppleston Allen’s London office, Clare helps clients to obtain the licences they need to run their businesses and, once they have the licences, Clare ensures that they keep them.

Clare advises on all stages of the licensing process and provides comprehensive and strategic advice to allow clients to obtain the best possible outcome, based on their specific needs. She is particularly skilled at handling complex situations and steering clients through licensing hurdles, including cumulative impact and enforcement action.

Clare has extensive experience in advising following allegations of breach of licensing conditions, police closures and other enforcement action, including Reviews. Clare has a proven track record in facilitating partnership based solutions for clients avoiding the need for formal enforcement action. However, should the enforcement result in proceedings – Clare is a skilled negotiator and advocate representing clients in front of licensing committees and magistrates.

Clare is a sought after solicitor for merger and acquisition projects and has advised on a significant number of large transactions over recent years. This includes strategic advice prior to acquisition, comprehensive due diligence and progressing relevant licensing applications following acquisition. Clare and her team work closely with all associated solicitors providing appropriate licensing advice for related business purchase agreements.

National expertise with a London focus:
Clare advises clients across England and Wales and has a strong presence in London advising some of the Capital’s leading restaurants, bars, hotels, private members clubs and outdoor events.

This sees Clare regularly obtaining new premises licences and varying existing premises licences to increase trading hours, capacity and improve conditions and she also advises on extensive refurbishments and increases in trading areas. Many of these applications are in cumulative impact or other highly sensitive areas.

Clare has been extremely successful with licensing applications in cumulative impact areas both in London (including Westminster, Camden, Hackney, Islington, Southwark) and beyond in major cities such as Newcastle, Blackpool, Southampton, Leeds and York.

Sample clients:
Clare’s key national client is Stonegate Pub Company, operators of over 700 premises including brands such as Be at One, Slug and Lettuce, Walkabout and Yates. Additionally, Clare has a wide client base including: Shepherd Neame, Laine Pub Company, Old Spitalfields Market, Chelsea Flower Show, Brunning & Price, Sanderson Hotel, St Martin’s Lane Hotel, Mondrian London, Caprice Holdings Ltd, The Birley Group, Selfridges, All Star Lanes, Benito’s Hat, Nuno Mendes Holdings Ltd, Dorsett Hotels and The Ampersand Hotel.

Recently Clare has been helping clients take advantage of the growth in outdoor events, festivals and pop-ups, including:
Chelsea Flower Show,

Masterpiece London, taking place at the Royal Hospital in Chelsea; and Mutiny 2018, a major festival featuring music acts such as Dizzee Rascal, Craig David Sean Paul.

Trade Associations and legal accolades:

Secretary of the London Region of the Institute of Licensing
Hosts the Poppleston Allen annual Licensing Seminar
Regularly commentator within the licensing trade press and national news
Speaker at trade events and recently appeared at the National Police Chiefs’ Council
Leading Individual status in The Legal 500
Tier 1 Solicitor ranking in Chambers & Partners London Licensing table

About the London office:

"They are very efficient - all enquiries are dealt with really quickly and there is always good communication. I really rate the team very highly." Legal 500, 2017

Comments from other legal directories:

 - "very tenacious advocate, extremely good and very well respected."
 - "In-depth knowledge of the licensing trade."
 - “Very clued up and understands the industry”
 - “Able to see not just the law but how it will affect operations on a practical level”.
 - “Has great relationships with licensing authorities”
 - “Highly regarded”
 - “A Leading Light”
 - “Outstanding in her field”

"Clare, who we affectionately call our Licensing Mum, has been nothing short of fantastic. Her knowledge of licensing law and understanding of how licensing authorities like to work is second to none. As a fairly small operator we were a little hesitant to use the services of such a large law firm at the start. But time-and-time again Clare has proven it was the absolutely correct decision." Luke Betts, Director, Mutiny Festival.

"Very tenacious advocate, extremely good and very well respected."


McLellans Solicitors (1997 – 2004); Legal Director for JD Wetherspoons (2004 – 2007), Partner Poppleston Allen (2007 – present)


Secretary of the London Region of Institute of Licensing.

London: Crime, fraud and licensing


Within: Leading individuals

Clare Eames - Poppleston Allen

Within: Licensing

Poppleston Allen's specialist licensing team has considerable breadth, acting for pubs, clubs, restaurants and property developers. Clare Eames, who jointly heads the practice, acts for the Stonegate Pub Company, owner of close to 700 pubs across the UK, on various matters. Fellow co-head Lisa Inzani is acting for the Oystermen Seafood Bar & Kitchen in gaining a new premises licence in the cumulative impact zone of Westminster. Another notable member of the team is associate Steve Burnett; he advises on drafting policies, obtaining pavement licenses and defending premises licence reviews.

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