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At the 'excellent' Blandy & Blandy LLP, Sue Dowling works in conjunction with colleagues in the planning and environmental and commercial and regulatory departments to provide extensive venue licensing expertise. The team handles the full spectrum of work in this area, including advising on alcohol and regulated entertainment licensing for all manner of well-known stadiums and venues covering concerts, sports events, conferencing and other hospitality events, and representing clients in contested hearings. Dowling stands out for her 'responsive approach and thorough knowledge' of this area of law. In recent work, she assisted a major sports client with obtaining a new premises licence, and in another highlight obtained a new licence for a client, which involved successfully negotiating with objectors and avoiding the need for a hearing.

Trethowans LLP's team 'provides an excellent service and its knowledge of the law and procedures in this area is second to none'. Head of department Karen Lush has 'fantastic knowledge' in this space and consultant Julie Palmer is 'an incredibly experienced and knowledgeable practitioner who is particularly impressive to watch in licensing hearings'. The team was further bolstered by the hire of Sandra Graham from Laceys Solicitors incorporating HLF in March 2017. It acts for an impressive range of national restaurant chains in addition to retail and sports clients. Recent work includes acting for a national client with regard to some 22 licence applications including those within cumulative impact areas.

According to one client, Field Seymour Parkes LLP's is 'extremely well versed in the minefield that is licensing law, up-to-date on developments and hard working'. It assists clients ranging from restaurants, hotels and breweries to smaller individual owners. Clients include Westbury Street Holdings, Heartstone Inns, Benugo and WSH and JC Restaurants. In recent work, it acted for restaurant group Gilbey's in respect of various planned works, which included liaising with the relevant authorities and a  successful application for variation of the premise's licence. The 'supremely professional' Mark Banham has 'a clear grasp of the law, the politics, and the personalities involved' in licensing matters.

John Gaunt & Partners specialises in all aspects of premises licensing, betting and gambling law and the licensing of taxi services. It adeptly guides clients through obtaining, transferring and updating licences and the strict regulation and enforcement of gambling rules. It acts for an impressive range of clients, many of which are household names and the team has been further bolstered by the hire of Jon Wallsgrove, who joined from Blake Morgan LLP in May 2018 where he had led the licensing team.

Pitmans LLP undertakes the gamut of licensing matters from applications for  new licences and applying for variations to negotiating with various authorities and representing clients at hearings. It also advises taxi licence holders and taxi companies. It is advising Doveglade, owner of Oxfords Bar & Restaurant in Southampton, on the variations of licences for two premises involving a restaurant and a bar and club. In other work, it assisted a client in obtaining a licence to sell and supply alcohol. Other clients include Delicious Dining, which owns numerous restaurants and bars, Dancing Man Brewery and Concorde Club and Hotel. Experienced practitioner Jonathan Gray heads the team.

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