Next Generation Partners

Licensing in Scotland

Miller Samuel Hill Brown Solicitors

Miller Samuel Hill Brown Solicitors are a leading firm in the Scottish licensing market, boasting a particularly diverse client roster which spans major on- and-off trade companies, including pubs, restaurants, nightclubs and supermarket chains. Audrey Junner leads the team from Glasgow and specialises in both liquor and civic licensing, as well as gambling work. Jack Cummins’ practice focuses heavily on the supermarket sector, while Peter Lawson has developed particular expertise in taxi and street trader licensing. The team regularly appear at licensing boards throughout Scotland and are often involved in significant, contentious and multifaceted cases.

Practice head(s):

Audrey Junner

Other key lawyers:

Jack Cummins; Peter Lawson


‘Audrey Junner is very knowledgeable not only on the law and practice generally but also on the regional practices and requirements of local licensing boards.’

‘Hill Brown provide an exemplary service.’

‘Their wealth of knowledge and experience around licensing is untouchable by others and their advice is always prompt, comprehensive and can be trusted as the best course of action.’

Key clients

Co-operative Group Food Limited

Six By Nico Group

Brewdog Retail Limited

Nando’s Chickenland Limited

Mitchells & Butlers Retail Limited

Stonegate Pub Company Limited

Viva Italia Group

Innis & Gunn Hospitality Group

Glasgow Science Centre Limited

Gleneagles Hotel Limited

Motor Fuel Group Limited

Ascona Retail Limited

Clydeside Initiative for Arts (SWG3)

Beam Suntory UK Limited

Pernod Ricard


Motel One

Revolution Bars Limited

Getir UK

Work highlights

  • Advised Co-operative Group Food Limited on several provisional premises licence applications and transfer applications as part of a national expansion.
  • Advised Innis & Gunn Hospitality Group on the acquisition of a new premises in the city centre of Glasgow.
  • Advised ISS Facility Services Limited on the development and licensing of the multi-million pound development of the Barclays Campus.


A licensing powerhouse, TLT continues to maintain its position at the apex of the Scottish market and servicing some of the largest domestic and international clients across key sectors including retail, bars and restaurants, hospitality, sport, gambling, and trade bodies. Practice head Stephen McGowanliterally wrote the book on licensing law’, dealing with contentious licensing applications and hearings across the liquor, gambling and entertainment trades. Gambling law specialist Caroline Loudon caters to a wide array of licensing clients, from large retailers and five-star hotels to academic institutions and international casinos. Legal director Niall Hassard is regularly instructed in appeals before the Sheriff Court and Court of Session, and also brings previous in-depth knowledge of managing licensed premises.

Practice head(s):

Stephen McGowan

Other key lawyers:

Caroline Loudon; Niall Hassard


‘Stephen McGowan is a fantastic licensing lawyer, and runs a great and well-organised team at TLT in Glasgow.’

‘There’s simply nowhere else to go in Scotland for licensing work.’

‘Stephen McGowan deserves a special mention, he literally wrote the book on Licensing Law in Scotland back in 2005 and what he doesn’t know isn’t worth knowing.’ 

‘Stephen McGowan specialises not only in the law, but in getting to know the key people at the licensing boards. He gets a good reception at hearings, which bodes well for his clients!’

Key clients

Aldi Stores Limited


Celtic FC

The Alchemist Limited

Punch Pubs

Iceland Foods Ltd

Nuveen Global Partners

Greene King

Rangers FC

National Trust for Scotland

Work highlights

  • Advised Celtic FC on their lower west stand and Track Betting licence this year, achieving a trial series of licences for consumption of alcohol on the concourse of the Lower West Stand of Celtic Park football stadium.
  • Advised Aldi Stores Ltd on the ongoing estate management for over 100 Aldi stores in Scotland. Achieving the grant of a further five new stores in Scotland (arguing against overprovision) and circa 20 applications for major variation this year plus countless minor variations.
  • Supported Otherlands Ltd with applications for public entertainment and market operator licences representing them at committee on 3 August 2022 and 12 Occasional licences representing them at the licensing board on 15 August 2022.

Harper Macleod LLP

With a particularly strong reputation in the food, leisure and hospitality sectors, the team at Harper Macleod LLP covers the entire gamut of licensing areas including applications, hearings and appeals, as well as the buying, selling and leasing of licensed premises. Practice head Andrew Hunter is adept across a broad range of licensing matters spanning liquor, betting, and civic government, regularly appearing before licensing boards on behalf of clients.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Hunter

Key clients

Lidl Great Britain Limited

Motor Fuel Limited

BP Oil UK Limited

Greene King Brewing & Retailing Limited

William Hill Organization Limited

The Climbing Academy Group Limited

Shell UK Oil Products Limited

Le Monsieur Limited

Culture & Sport Glasgow t/a Glasgow Life

Hotel Chocolat Retail Limited

Work highlights

  • Assisted Motor Fuel Limited with two successful appeals against the decisions of North Lanarkshire Licensing Board to refuse two new premises licences on the basis of over-provision.
  • Assisted Greene King on a licensing application at a single site.
  • Supported the Climbing Academy relating to a climbing and skateboarding premises in Chippenham.

Morton Fraser MacRoberts

Morton Fraser MacRoberts provides a deep bench of ‘licensing specialists’ who deal with a wide range of both public and private sector cases, with a widely recognised specialism regarding the impact of insolvency on licensed premises. Practice head David Hossack has vast litigation experience and acts for a diverse range of clients, from small businesses to leading multinationals, as well as regularly appearing before licensing boards.

Practice head(s):

David Hossack


‘The breadth of experience and diversity of portfolios they can assist with is fantastic.’

‘David Hossack is attentive, always offers different solutions, but ultimately looks for the best outcome for you as a client.’

‘David Hossack has an excellent knowledge of the education sector and is always professional, efficient and completely reliable.’

Key clients

WeWork Community Workspace UK Limited

Diageo Scotland Ltd

The City of Edinburgh Council

Accor (UK) Hotels

Travelodge Hotels

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC)


Scottish Canals

Brio Retirement Living (Chapeltown) Limited

Historic Environment Scotland

Work highlights

  • Assisted Diageo in relation to a new visitor centre projects throughout Scotland.
  • Obtained a licence for flagship new premises, Patina at Edinburgh Park.

Pinsent Masons LLP

The licensing team at Pinsent Masons LLP has a proven track record acting for major businesses such as clients in the hospitality, leisure and tourism sectors, as well as manufacturers and insolvency practitioners. The practice is led by Belfast's Deirdre Cormican and the key contact in Scotland is the considerably experienced consultant Audrey Ferrie, who covers the full spectrum of liquor, gambling, and civic government licensing issues.

Practice head(s):

Deirdre Cormican (Belfast)

Other key lawyers:

Audrey Ferrie


‘Audrey Ferrie in particular keeps you up to date with all new legislation and is always there to run advice past.’

‘The team are well resourced and respond appropriately to matters that get raised.’

‘The team are responsive and communicate effectively on matters that need attention.’

Key clients


Royal Yacht Britannia Limited

Yo! Sushi

Adil Group

Adagio Hotels UK Limited

Pizza Express Limited

Wagamama Limited

Edinburgh International Conference Centre Limited

Largo Leisure Limited

Azzurri Restaurants Limited

Work highlights

Shepherd and Wedderburn

Shepherd and Wedderburn offers considerable breadth and depth of licensing experience to clients across multiple key areas of the Scottish economy, including hospitality, retail, entertainment, technology and the taxi sector. Solicitor advocate Kevin Clancy leads the team and has overseen the significant growth in advising on the new short-term licensing regime, which came into force in 2022. Clancy, who also has significant experience of representing clients in contentious licensing applications, is supported by senior associate Serena Weir, who regularly appears before licensing boards in personal licence reviews.

Practice head(s):

Kevin Clancy

Other key lawyers:

Serena Weir


‘The team are very prompt.’

‘Kevin Clancy is very knowledgable.’

‘Shepherd & Wedderburn deal with all aspects of licensing applications in Scotland and they are totally efficient.’

Key clients

Crerar Hotel Group Limited

Dobbies Garden Centre

HKS Retail Limited

Dakota Hotels

SGN Limited

TG Convenience Stores Limited

University of Edinburgh Accommodation Limited

Uber Scot Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising SGN Limited on licensing matters in relation to petrol filling stations.
  • Advising Uber Scot Limited for licensing matters in Scotland.
  • Advising Crerar Hotels Group Limited on the managing of a portfolio of hotel premises licenses.