Licensing in East Midlands

Poppleston Allen

Poppleston Allen is a well-established boutique licensing firm, which also has a strong capability in matters specific to gambling. In addition, it undertakes licensing-related regulatory work, which is connected with health and safety and food hygiene. Reflective of its prominence in the market, the firm has organised some of the largest licensing law events in London. Its client base includes a number of household names, such as Pizza Express, Five Guys and Deliveroo. Also notable is that the firm has developed an innovative mobile app to assist entities operating in the licensed trade space. Practice head Lisa Sharkey works with Graeme Cushion and Jonathan Smith. James Anderson and Hannah Price are other notable individuals.

Practice head(s):

Lisa Sharkey

Key clients

Mitchells & Butlers Leisure Retail Limited

Stonegate Pub Company Limited

Pizza Express

Five Guys


Bourne Leisure

Azzuri Group Limited (Ask and Zizzi)

The Deltic Group

Hook Norton Brewery


Work highlights

  • Advising Mitchells & Butlers on, and appearing at a hearing, to obtain a full variation to a premises licence.
  • Assisting Admiral Taverns with licensing due diligence and speaking with licensing authorities for their acquisition of 137 Marston’s pubs (£44.9m) and 150 pubs from Star Pubs and Bars (part of Heineken, undisclosed sum).
  • Advising Criterion Capital on the defence of a premise licence against a review brought about by Westminster Licensing Police after a large-scale fight inside a high profile nightclub in Leicester Square.  

Flint Bishop LLP

Flint Bishop LLP's team has extensive expertise in all aspects of alcohol and entertainment licensing, including the tenanted pub market. It handles the full range of licensing work, including applications for transfer of premises licences, variations of designated premises supervisor (DPS) and applications for major and minor variation. The team has experience of acting for operators of hotel and hostel chains; key clients include Macdonald Hotels and Kew Green Hotels. Practice head Andrew Cochrane is praised for his 'excellent knowledge and attention to detail'.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Cochrane


Andrew Cochrane – excellent knowledge and attention to detail, all handled in a very timely fashion.’

Key clients

Star Pubs & Bars Limited

Marston’s PLC (Liberty Division)

Youth Hostel Association

Macdonald Hotels Limited

Kew Green Hotels

Real Brewing Pub Company Limited

National Trust

Chilled Pub Company

East London Pub Company

Beavertown Brewery

Work highlights

  • Acted for Star Pubs & Bars Limited on carrying out a significant number of extensions of hours to allow premises to open earlier in relation to the Rugby World Cup 2019.
  • Undertaking a major project to form a database of all licensed premises within the National Trust estate and provide support regarding licensing policies and procedures.
  • Acted for Youth Hostels Associations on the purchase of two large hotels/hostels and advising on transferring and changing licenses.

Freeths LLP

Freeths LLP has a strong track record advising on licensing issues and has been further developing its presence in trading standards and health and safety. It is increasingly sought out to provide clients with food labelling advice. The team is particularly well-known for its work for supermarkets on a range of matters. Reflective of its first-rate reputation in this space, the firm counts Aldi as a longstanding client. Elsewhere, other key clients include Carlsberg, NEC and Laine Pub Company. Practice head Lisa Gilligan, who is 'pragmatic' and 'exceptionally knowledgeable', is regularly asked to act as a legal clerk to licensing committees.

Practice head(s):

Lisa Gilligan


The team is responsive and flexible and is able to turnaround work promptly and to a high quality.’

Lisa Gilligan is pragmatic when giving advice but listens to representations and has a sound knowledge of how we approach our casework. Lisa prepares casework and represents clients at court and has been successful in dismissing a number of appeals.’

The team at Freeths were a pleasure to work with. I worked with an individual on our case but whenever I called into the office the team were friendly and welcoming.’

Lisa Gilligan was a pleasure to work with. She was exceptionally knowledgable on the licensing issue that we were facing. During the hearing Lisa was incredibly composed and immediately won favour with the council. Her argument was put forward in such a level headed and straight forward way that it was impossible to argue and ended up with the complainant not staying to hear the verdict. Her professionalism and knowledge are unquestionable and the results speak for themselves.’

Key clients

Aldi Stores Limited

Cheshire Cat Pubs & Bars



Davy’s of London

Butcombe Brewery


Laine Pub Company


Gangmasters Labour & Abuse Authority

Noisily Festival

Work highlights

  • Acting as the sole legal provider for licensing expertise to Aldi Stores Limited in England and Wales, who now operate in excess of 850 stores in the UK.
  • Advising Laine Pub Company on a full range of licensing matters.
  • Provides licensing support to the National Exhibition Centre (the NEC) Group.