Licensing in North

Mincoffs Solicitors LLP

Highly regarded for its ‘technical knowledge and pragmatism’, the licensing and gaming practice at Mincoffs Solicitors LLP in Newcastle has continues to advise and support its hospitality clients, including in particularly challenging pandemic circumstances. The team cooperates with colleagues within the firm’s hospitality department and so is able to offer cost effective packages for clients buying and selling businesses involving licensed premises. Practice head Matt Foster is a ‘skilled solicitor’ with a broad base of expertise that ranges from preparing and negotiating licensing applications to contentious applications, prosecutions and reviews.

Practice head(s):

Matt Foster


‘Very responsive. Advice is always spot on. They dealt with an issue with one authority and handled it extremely well such that we have a better relationship with that authority now.’

‘Matt Foster:We can get hold of Matt all hours of the day and days of the week.’

‘The licensing and gaming team at Mincoffs are technically adept and knowledgeable of the precedent and case law relevant to their particular area of specialism. The team is highly regarded in the North East of England for both their technical knowledge and pragmatism, often using both to achieve beneficial outcomes for their clients.’

‘Matthew Foster is a skilled solicitor who, whilst being extremely capable of advising his clients on the legal technicalities, details and tactics of a case, is also capable of recognising the hard commercial realities of a matter. He is also very approachable and responsive both with clients, and when appearing in front of the licensing committee. Often using both these skill sets to achieve positive outcomes for the parties he represents.’

Key clients

East Coast Concepts

Station Hotel

Spot White

Urban Green

Work highlights

  • Acted for One Collection Group on a new premises licence within Newcastle City Council’s Special Stress Area. The application was in respect of a 1920’s themed bar and restaurant. This was a matter that proceeded to a hearing.  
  • Instructed by Twenty Twenty Limited in regard to an application in Newcastle’s Bigg Market. This is an area within the Special Policy Area of Newcastle’s Cumulative Impact Policy. It is also an area where there is a presumption to refuse new applications, particularly outside of the framework hours provided in the Statement of Licensing Policy.
  • Instructed by IntoWin in relation to a prize competition they operated around luxury watches. The clients wanted to operate a ‘spot the ball’ competition. The clients were quite sophisticated and already operated in the unregulated sector with a prize competition, but having tried to set up this business they suffered immediate setbacks with Facebook cutting off the functionality of their ads until they sought and shared legal advice on the project.

Sintons LLP

Sintons LLP in Newcastle has a broad and varied licensing practice that includes acting for clients on new applications, significant variations of licences, appeals and defending reviews of licences. The team regularly supports clients with particularly challenging applications in special stress areas or cumulative impact policy areas. Praised for its good working relationship with local authority licensing officers throughout the North East’, the practice is also in well-equipped to negotiate for successful outcomes. Respected expert Sarah Smith heads up the team, drawing on an ‘immense knowledge of licensing’.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Smith


‘The team has over 30 years experience in licensing matters and has built up a good working relationship with local authority licensing officers throughout the North East. With a professional attitude, offering value for money and achieving effective results there is no need to go elsewhere.’

‘Stand out partner is Sarah Smith for licensing experience and depth of knowledge which ensure applications proceed smoothly with a positive outcome.’

‘Sarah Smith is one of the best licensing solicitors in the country. Her friendly and approachable style belies a steely determination to achieve the best outcome for our clients. She is well known and well liked by committees and responsible authorities. She has immense knowledge of licensing and the sector and her applications are always comprehensively tested before being made.’

Key clients

Danieli Holdings Limited

Ladhar Group

Malhotra Group

Apartment Group

Fenwick Limited

Northumberland Estates Ltd

Newcastle United Football Co Ltd

Hibou Blanc Ltd

Market Shaker Ltd

The Auckland Project

Copenhagen 1801 Limited

Sayturk Limited

HRC Newcastle Ltd

Hanson Hotels Ltd

Metropolis Limited

Basement Cocktails Limited

Chandeliers by Annette Limited

The Liquor and Restaurant Group Limited

Cobalt Too Limited

SDD Industries Limited

Tokyo Industries (Ultimate) Limited

Cog and Wheel Limited

Dead Vibey Limited

St John Fitzgerald Limited

Kennedy and Rhind Limited

Tanbul Limited

Work highlights

  • Obtaining a premises licence to allow the client to operate a large open air screening space for the Euros 2021 under tight deadlines and facing a large amount of objection from responsible bodies and residents.
  • Resisting a review of the client Tanbul Limiteds’ premises licence in the face of police and residential objection.
  • Obtaining a new premises licence for an on-licenced venue with late hours in a Special Stress Area.

Ward Hadaway LLP

With its client base comprising well known supermarket, restaurant and bar chains, large and small hotel groups as well as independents, the Newcastle-based team at Ward Hadaway LLP maintains a number of key long term client relationships. The practice handles contested licence applications as well as providing a wide range of advice such as on issues surrounding premises licences, personal licences, enforcement and reviews. Richard Arnot heads up the practice, he is well connected with stakeholders in the sector and has deep experience.

Practice head(s):

Richard Arnot

Key clients

Co-operative Group Food Limited

TGI Fridays

Lane 7 Limited

Mal Maison and Hotel Du Vin

Gaming Venues Limited

Tomahawk Steakhouse Ltd

Barcade Ltd

Dominus Hotels

Inn Collection Group

Iceland Foods Ltd

Work highlights