Rising Stars

Licensing in East Midlands

Poppleston Allen

Praised as ‘without a doubt the leaders in licensing‘, Poppleston Allen continues to work with leading nightclubs, restaurants, retailers, landlords and developers on obtaining new premises and amending existing licences. The firm also routinely defends clients in licensing, food hygiene, and health and safety reviews. James Anderson and practice head Lisa Sharkey, Graeme Cushion and manging partner Jonathan Smith are the leading partners in Nottingham.

Practice head(s):

Lisa Sharkey

Other key lawyers:

James Anderson; Jonathan Smith; Graeme Cushion; Nick Arron; Suraj Desor; Sarah Taylor


Poppleston Allen are without a doubt the leaders in licensing. The are professional, knowledgeable, experienced and also personable. Their specialist knowledge always provides the confidence that their advice is right. They also provide us with a licensing database which allows us 24/7 access to essential information and has significantly improved our ways of working around licensing.’

‘We have always found their service to be very reliable, have not lost a license in all of that time and they are always available even if any issues arise in the dead of night, although thankfully, that is an extremely rare occurrence.’

‘Poppleston Allen provides a licensing service. They are friendly and approachable. They do enforcement work for us along with variations.’

‘Large number of very experienced solicitors with national reach.’

‘Nick Arron gives a great service to gambling industry clients.’

‘Suraj Desor, Sarah Taylor, Lisa Sharkey and Jonathan Smith are our key solicitor contacts and all provide an outstanding and trusted service. All are unique in their ways of working but still work to the same Poppleston Allen standards and ethic. Whoever we work with, consistency and excellence is guaranteed.’

‘They have a great understanding about business, have very good relationships with local police and council, and keep those relationships live on a regular basis.’

Key clients

Black and White Hospitality

Virgin Hotels. International hotel chain

Albert’s Schloss

Simmons Bar

Stonegate Group

Consolidated Developments

Fuller’s Pub

D&D Restaurant

Mitchells and Butlers

Admiral Taverns


Five Guys


Azzuri Group

Rosa’s Thai

Young Pubs

Axed Global

Boparan Restaurant Group

Parkdean Resorts

Work highlights

  • Advised Axed Global on obtaining a new premises licence, with late trading hours until 2am, close 2:30am, for a new site in Nottingham’s landmark Cornerhouse development.
  • Advised Outernet London, an immersive entertainment complex in London, on obtaining various licences and on strategic licensing matters.
  • Represented Tenpin at its first licensing hearing for a premises licence.

Flint Bishop LLP

Flint Bishop LLP has extensive experience in all aspects of alcohol and entertainment licensing, and an impressive track record in working with major retailers, off licences, tenanted pub and hospitality premises, and hotels. In Derby, practice head Andrew Cochrane and senior associate George Domleo handle the full breadth of licensing matters, and related issues, including defending operators of licensed premises faced with enforcement action or noise/anti-social behaviour complaints, and resolving Code of Practice issues.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Cochrane

Other key lawyers:

George Domleo

Key clients

Star Pubs & Bars Limited (Heineken UK) Limited

National Trust for England and Wales

Real Brewing Pub Company Limited

Chilled Pub Company

Q Hotels

Youth Hostel Association for England and Wales

Axiom Hospitality Limited

Macdonald Hotels Limited

Kew Green Hotels Limited

Beavertown Brewery

Work highlights

  • Assisting the National Trust with all aspects of licensing, including applying for major and minor variations and new premises licences.
  • Working for Star Pubs & Bars (the leased and tenanted pub division of Heineken UK) with all aspects of licensing across England, Scotland and Wales.
  • Helping Chilled Pubs with its expansion plans, including improvements to the licences of acquired sites.

Freeths LLP

Licensing is a key area of growth within Freeths LLP‘s broader regulatory department. Led by the highly regarded Lisa Gilligan, the team has seen increased demand for health and safety, trading standards and food labelling advice from overseas businesses looking to launch their products in the UK. Gilligan advises domestic and international clients from all sectors of the leisure industry, including bars, nightclubs, restaurants, investors and property developers.

Practice head(s):

Lisa Gilligan


‘The team is one of the most proactive in highlighting potential issues before they become problems. Their foresight and diligence has allowed us to navigate complex processes with innovative and energetic solutions. They work collaboratively with all departments within the business whilst navigating centralised and regional structures within which we work.’

‘Lisa Gilligan has helped us navigate several processes over the last couple of years. Lisa has made various recommendations to not only streamline processes but also recommended solutions which helped us achieve cost savings. Lisa is always responsive and open to discussion before formulating a best course of action.’

‘Every interaction and transaction was guided by professionalism and customer service. We knew we could trust and rely on this firm and their ability to guide us as their clients.’

‘Lisa Gilligan helped us successfully on a number of occasions. Lisa has an incredible way with people, not only the people she represents but also the people that she is up against. She is very good at making everyone concerned feel at ease and like she is in control, albeit in an amiable way. She is very clear about how things are going to proceed, not only in terms of the case but also in terms of billing. We could not recommend Lisa highly enough and would happily recommend her to anyone.’

‘Lisa Gilligan was responsive, accountable, knowledgeable, and trustworthy. I would recommend her to anyone that asked and we do plan to utilize her for future legal needs, should they arise.’

Key clients

Aldi Stores Limited

Cheshire Cat Pubs


Butcombe Brewery


Davys Wine Bars

Re-Imagined Quality

Noisily Festival Limited

Charles Wells & Co

Centre Island Hotels

RedCat Pub Company

Number 23 Uppingham Ltd

Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority

Carlsberg Marstons Limited

The Abbeyfield Society

Newark and Sherwood District Council

Work highlights

  • Advising Aldi on all licensing matters, supporting an ambitious expansion programme and providing a full licensing administrative service for an estate in excess of 900 stores nationwide.
  • Advising NEC Group in relation to all licensing matters for the NEC Group venues.
  • Advising Laine Pub Company in relation to licensing applications for an estate of 53 pubs.


Shoosmiths LLP has a strong reputation in the retail and leisure sectors and acts for a number of major UK and regional pub companies, licensed retailers, taxi operators and fast-food operators. Working in the wider business crime department, Philip Ryan, based in Reading, and Birmingham-based lawyer Kirsty Hughes advise on all new licensing applications as well as handling criminal proceedings for breaches of licensing conditions, weights and measures, food safety legislation, and health and safety regulation.

Practice head(s):

Philip Ryan; Kirsty Hughes

Other key lawyers:

Elaine Rayner


‘Shoosmiths are one of the few UK law firms which have a dedicated alcohol licensing practice. There seems to be a dearth of independent legal expertise in the area, outside of the big producers and trade bodies, so this is very welcome. The team are great to work with and cover almost the full spectrum of requirements.’

‘The whole team are a pleasure to work with. They provide detailed and clear written advice, available at short notice to deal with queries and spent time learning about our business.’

‘The team is very responsive to requests for additional support when required. Shoosmiths have a dedicated team for us and this has remained consistent throughout our time, adding to the working relationship that we have.’

‘I have worked with Kirsty Hughes for many years. She is pragmatic, commercially aware and a great person to be on your team.’

‘Very client friendly. Commercial and practical advice.’

‘Elaine Rayner is very careful to set out instructions and highlight issues. She collects background information and keeps me well briefed with updates.’

Key clients

McDonald’s Restaurants Limited

Diistil Limited

Edge Restaurants (NW) Limited t/a McDonald’s

Global Hospitality London Limited

Erasmus Restaurants Limited

Fortress Operations Limited

Parogon Pub Company

Work highlights

  • Applied for a Premises Licence for Late Night Refreshment for a new build McDonald’s Drive-Thru restaurant in the Selly Oak area of Birmingham.
  • Supported Diistil Limited with an application for a Premises Licence for a cutting-edge distillery in London.
  • Supported Global Hospitality London with applications for Table and Chairs Licences, Pavement Licences and other application.