Licensing in London Bar
Cornerstone Barristers is considered to be 'home to the leading licensing silk' – head of chambers Philip Kolvin QC whose work includes a range of cases for Uber. He also acted for Haringey LB in R (Friends of Finsbury Park) v London Borough of Haringey in a case before the Court of Appeal over a challenge to councils allowing major festivals in parks. The set's members act for licensing authorities, national regulators, the police, industry operators, and community groups. James Findlay QC advises on areas including gambling (casinos and betting), taxi and private hire licensing as part of his broad public law practice and has advised a private hire company on a potential judicial review of a decision to refuse to license a base outside of London. Meanwhile, Ranjit Bhose QC is advising the dance music festival, We Are Festvl, on obtaining the grant of a long-term licence to operate an annual event.
Francis Taylor Building 'is clearly the leading licensing set with some of the most famous names in the Industry. It has unrivalled depth in the licensing and regulatory field', according to one satisfied client. 'Top class' Gerald Gouriet QC has acted on high-profile cases in the taxi business in addition to acting on numerous cases involving licences in the entertainment/clubs fields. He acted for the council in Wigan Council v Revolution Bars Appeal on the refusal of a premises licence – the case was successfully concluded when the parties agreed on compromise conditions. With equally deep expertise, David Matthias QC has acted on a number of cases that have gone to appeal, including to the Supreme Court. Of late, he acted for the council in R (on the application of We Love Hackney Ltd) v London Borough of Hackney – a challenge by way of judicial review to the legality of Hackney’s new Licensing Policy by a local pressure group. Jeremy Philips QC handles a range of cases involving the licensing of entertainment venues of all types, taxi hire matters, and gambling including online. Of late he acted for Hackney LB in resisting the appeal by La Morna Jazz Lounge against the revocation of a late night bar licence. Gary Grant is in demand for both his expertise and 'brilliant' advocacy; he acted for Secret Group Ltd in obtaining a new premises licence for its secret cinema operation which attracted very substantial objections. The 'smooth advocacy and non-adversarial but firm' approach of James Rankin is also noted. His work includes representing West Midlands Police in the high-profile and heavily contested case concerning the eventual closure and revocation of the licence of the Arabian Nites Shisha Lounge.
Three Raymond Buildings is endorsed as one of the first choice sets for licensing expertise. Its members handle all aspects of licensing issues in the entertainment and gambling fields including betting and casinos, frequently acting for well-known venues and including regulatory and criminal matters. The 'very impressive' Stephen Walsh QC has an exceptional breadth of expertise that ranges from gambling or street trading to private security and firearms matters. Many of his cases involve major entertainment venues and he advised Old Spitalfields Market on a new application and appeal for a premises licence for the open market area. Michael Bromley-Martin QC achieves results 'with aplomb' and also has a strong track record on a range of licence application or revocation cases. Acting for Eastern Electrics Music Festival, he successfully secured a premises licence in the face of strong objections from the Metropolitan Police and the Licensing Authority. A 'first-choice junior', Sarah Le Fevre is often opposite silks in challenging cases; she is acting for Sophisticats against Westminster City Council in respect of a contested renewal of a sexual entertainment venue licence.