Licensing in East Midlands

Poppleston Allen

Poppleston Allen is a niche law firm, focusing on alcohol and gambling licensing matters. The team of ‘absolute subject matter experts’ includes managing partner Lisa Sharkey, who provides 'invaluable' support, and Jonathan Smith, who advises on the full range of relevant matters, including the licensing aspects of large M&A deals. The 'extremely knowledgeable' James Anderson defends clients against reviews and other enforcement actions brought by authorities, while Graeme Cushion specialises in crime related to licensing, such as underage sales of alcohol and drunkenness. During the COVID-19 pandemic the team was involved in licensing policy work, representing the hospitality industry’s views and opinions.

Other key lawyers:

Lisa Sharkey; Graeme Cushion; Jonathan Smith; James Anderson


‘Poppleston Allen have been superb at managing a challenging customer during a very challenging trading period: they have always been available to offer advice and support, with a real can do attitude, and delivering on that.’

‘They promise – and deliver on that promise, even when timelines seem impossible.’

‘They consistently demonstrate exceptional knowledge of the detailed issues involved in our business requirements.’

‘I am not aware of any other firms dealing with licensing issues in the unique way that they do.’

‘James Anderson is our key partner, he is extremely knowledgeable in the area and very well connected.’

‘Absolute subject matter experts. The go-to firm for licensing issues.’

‘Approachable, helpful and pragmatic.’

‘We have worked with Poppleston Allen for just over a year now, and have been incredibly impressed by the level of professionalism, communication and licensing expertise we receive from the team. The practice offers seamless support from legal support through to billing.’

‘We have been pleased with the performance of the team as a whole, notably their advice and direction on complicated licensing matters and strong communications. Lisa Sharkey in particular has performed exceptionally on our account – her support through some quite difficult work has been invaluable.’

Key clients

Mitchells & Butlers Leisure Retail Limited

Stonegate Pub Company Limited

Pizza Express (Restaurants) Limited

Five Guys

Gourmet Burger Kitchen

Bourne Leisure

Azzuri Group Limited

The Deltic Group




Fuller’s Plc


‎Criterion Capital Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Admiral Taverns on its acquisition of 137 pubs from national pub company, Marston’s Plc.
  • Advised Boparan Restaurant Group regarding the licensing aspects of their acquisition of Carluccio’s (30 sites) and Gourmet Burger Kitchen (25 sites) out of administration.
  • Advised D&D London in relation to obtaining a new premises licence (The Pavilion, Stratford) and a premises licence variation (Klosterhaus Bristol) without the need for a licensing hearing.

Flint Bishop LLP

The 'highly knowledgeable, incredibly practical and solutions-focused' Andrew Cochrane heads the licensing department at Flint Bishop LLP, which offers a full range of licensing services. The team regularly handles all matters relating to alcohol and entertainment licensing, such as variations of designated premises supervisor, reviews and prosecutions as well as transfers of premises, and has gathered extensive experience in managing bulk licensing work for large tenanted or managed estates. To ameliorate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the department introduced a fixed-fee package to assist clients with issues regarding tiered restrictions and lockdown measures.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Cochrane


‘We have worked with the licensing team for a number of years and find them exceedingly practical, user friendly, highly knowledgeable and solutions-focused.’

‘Andrew Cochrane is highly knowledgeable and incredibly practical. All stakeholders across our business interact with the firm, and Andrew in particular – they give consistently positive feedback and he is seen as a key contact for our business.’

Key clients

Star Pubs & Bars Limited

National Trust for England and Wales

Youth Hostel Association

Macdonald Hotels Limited

Kew Green Hotels

Real Brewing Pub Company Limited

Almarose Hotels

Chilled Pub Company

East London Pub Company

Beavertown Brewery

Work highlights

  • Advised Star Pubs and Bars Ltd on review of premises licence for the Penny Black.
  • Advised the East London Pub Company Ltd on licensing aspects of the acquisition of premises in Soho London.
  • Advised the National Trust on licensing requirements in respect of the work carried out at Nymans Gardens.

Freeths LLP

In addition to a full host of licensing services, Freeths LLP offers advice on matters concerning related regulatory sectors, such as food safety and hygiene, trading standards and fire safety. Practice head Lisa Gilligan, who is commended for being 'exceptional' in representing clients in case management and in-person hearings, regularly acts as legal clerk to licensing committees as well as for a number of public sector bodies, giving her extensive experience with enforcing authorities and operators alike.

Practice head(s):

Lisa Gilligan


‘Very helpful with queries at anytime and always available on the phone.’

‘Lisa Gilligan has an outstanding grasp of the issues we face and always deals with them in a timely manner.’

‘The team are extremely professional, responsive and helpful. Their knowledge and level of ability has been an enormous help to us, especially during a transitional period.’

‘Lisa Gilligan is tremendously capable and helpful. She is very knowledgeable and always willing to make herself available to provide advice and guidance and has never been anything other than receptive, responsive, friendly and happy to help with any query. Lisa has always been exceptional when representing our organisation in case management hearings and in-person hearings, and in her preparatory work for hearings.’

‘More than most firms we’ve worked with, the team at Freeths are both extremely knowledgeable and at the same time very personable. They’re professional and friendly and take the time to talk through options and discuss opinions. They have also taken the time to properly understand our business and talk specifically about our needs which I find very refreshing.’

‘We work with Lisa Gilligan who is truly excellent. Lisa listens to the detail and gives extremely sound professional advice and guidance. She engages with staff at all levels in the business and externally is a fantastic representative to all manner of stakeholders. Lisa takes a global view of every situation and presents strategies based on a truly in-depth understanding of any problem we face.’

Key clients

Aldi Stores Limited

Cheshire Cat Pubs


Butcombe Brewery


Laine Pub Company

Gangmasters Licensing & Abuse Authority

Paul Smith

Bricks and Fuel Limited

South Northamptonshire Council


Work highlights

  • Advised Aldi Stores Limited on licensing and regulatory matters, supporting an ambitious national expansion programme.
  • Acted as legal advisor to the Licensing Sub-Committee of South Northamptonshire Council.
  • Advised in relation to licensing matters for the NEC Group venues.