Hall Of Fame

Leading Individuals

Firms To Watch: Licensing

Wollens, which has three offices across Devon, has significantly grown in recent years; the licensing practice is led by chief executive Chris Hart from Torquay.

Licensing in South West


TLT handles a variety of licensing matters for prominent national clients including theatres, pubs, retailers and festivals. The team is adept at handling licensing applications that face significant local opposition, including representing clients in hearings before licensing committees. Matthew Phipps leads the Bristol team as well as the firm’s national licensing practice, and alongside Ewen Macgregor handles applications and variations across the UK. Legal directors Piers Warne and Andrew Griffin are also recommended both for their work in contentious licensing matters as well as in performing due diligence on transactions.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Phipps

Other key lawyers:

Ewen Macgregor; Piers Warne; Andrew Griffin


‘Really dedicated team, that cares about not only the licenced premises in Bristol, but also how they add value to the cities nightlife. Really knowledgeable team who went above and beyond during the pandemic to guide their clients through the constantly changing guidelines in a clear and practical way. They were really generous with their time and expertise, for the greater good of the industry.’

‘Piers Warne has been exceptional throughout the pandemic. Always on hand for advice and practical solutions to complex issues. I dont know what we would have done without him! An absolute superstar.’

‘Very attentive and knowledgeable; extremely helpful.’

Key clients

Greene King

Punch Pubs

Yum! (KFC, Pizza Hut Delivery & Taco Bell)


Ambassador Theatre Group


Welcome Break

Boomtown Festival

Las Iguanas

Ashton Gate

Work highlights

  • Applied for a premises licence for a new Flight Club in Cheltenham, which was granted.
  • Applied for and gained premises licences for Ashton Gate for high performance centres for Bristol City FC and Bristol Bears rugby club.
  • Applied for and obtained a new premises licence for Feeder Studios, a multi-purpose venue in Bristol, with a circa 2,000 capacity for indoor and external events to 2am.

Burges Salmon LLP

Burges Salmon LLP provides advice to clients on the management of licence portfolios, including alcohol, gambling, vehicle and caravan site licenses. In addition to ongoing advice, the practice also assists clients in the licensing aspects of transactions, particularly in the hotels sector, as well as deals involving houses in multiple occupation. The practice acts for prominent clients in the South West, such as the University of Bristol, as well as for companies with nationwide portfolios. The team is led by senior associate Joanne Attwood, with fellow senior associate Stephen Lavington also active in this space.

Practice head(s):

Joanne Attwood

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Lavington


‘Top class reputation at the forefront of legal provision in the SW and beyond.’

‘Joanne Attwood is incredibly knowledgeable with outstanding client skills. She understands the commercial imperatives and provides top notch, strategic advice to achieve the best results for her clients.’

Key clients

University of Bristol

Darwin Group

Canadian and Riverside Estates

Zetland Capital

Atlas Hotels

Utility Company

Luxury Fashion Online Platform

Heritage Site

Loungers Holdings Ltd

English Heritage

Pennon Group

London and Regional Group Hotels Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising the University of Bristol in relation to its licensed portfolio.
  • Advised Zetland Capital on the acquisition of a portfolio comprising of 12 high quality pubs,located across London and on the related licensing issues.
  • Advising a heritage site on key issues surrounding its Premises Licence and potential variations required to the licence to accommodate an increasing events portfolio.


Laceys advises events and hospitality businesses on licensing issues, including working with clients on police reviews of licenses as well as on the licensing-related aspects of property acquisitions. Philip Day in Bournemouth leads the team, and is praised by clients as an ‘excellent advocate’.

Practice head(s):

Philip Day


‘Laceys have a fantastic culture of supporting clients through all situations but we have found their licensing expertise to be of particular support to our business. The team deal with all queries and concerns efficiently and professionally. Their understanding of licensing law is unrivalled and their results speak for themselves.’

‘Our key contact, Philip Day, has been an exceptional support for our business for a number of years. Throughout Covid, when our business was facing potential decimation, his level-headed approach to licensing and understanding of event delivery were a massive support. His reputation as an excellent advocate is unquestionable but his compassion and understanding really set him apart in a competitive field.’

Key clients

Hall and Woodhouse

The Stable Bar & Restaurants Limited

Sourdough South Limited

High Tide Festival Limited

Great Dorset Steam Fair

The Beat Herder Festival

South Coast Events Group

The Miaris Group

Pokesdown and Southbourne Ex Service Mens Club

Café Riva

Shore Lines Food Limited

Tall Bars Limited

Chance and Counters Limited

Caffeine Weymouth

The Coach House and Inns Limited

Eventive Funtime Limited

Popa Distribution Limited

Blonde Brothers Limited

Del Marco Limited

Bournemouth Electric Club

Nole Pizza

Work highlights

  • Represented Stable Bar and Restaurants in an application for a new licence in Winchester’s Cumulative Impact Area, against police objections.
  • Undertook a due diligence exercise for Hall and Woodhouse regarding 14 pubs acquired by the company during the last 12 months, including a number of successful applications to either vary the same or to apply for entirely new (effectively replacement) licences.
  • Acted for Southbourne Snooker Club in successfully resisting an application by the Police to review the Premises Licence following allegations of numerous breaches of licence conditions and further allegations of breaches of Covid regulations.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP

GL Law, which recently merged with Shakespeare Martineau LLP, acts for restaurants, cafes, hotels and bars in licensing matters, advising them on applications for new licenses as well as on variations and transfers. Melissa Toney leads the team, and has recently been active in advising clients on licensing changes related to COVID restrictions as well as the reopening of hospitality.

Practice head(s):

Melissa Toney


‘There is a real personal quality to Melissa Toney’s service. She is proactive in identifying ways she can help with her licensing expertise and goes the extra mile to help provide networks of people to help with other areas of our business.’

‘Very responsive team and will assist with a wide range of matters.’

‘The quality of service is what sets them apart, the personal touch and deep understanding of our needs. We feel like we work collaboratively with Melissa Toney, where both parties work together to establish and deliver on our specific needs.’

‘Melissa Toney is extremely responsive and a pleasure to work with.’

‘Knowledgeable and always on hand for problems, big or small.’

‘This practice has built a strong relationship with the independent venues of Bristol to provide a level of trust in their understanding of local licencing that gives operators an instant advantage when it comes to submitting or challenging licencing applications.’

‘A very personal service, they understand you as an operator.’

Key clients

Sir Richard Sutton Ltd – Ganesta Georgian Holdings Ltd

Accor UK Business and Leisure Hotels Limited and Accor UK Economy Hotels Ltd

Harvey Commercial (Holdings) Ltd

The Salt Rooms Ltd

The Bristol Centre for the Advancement of Architecture Ltd

The BlackRock Restaurant Group

Central Swindon South Parish Council

Fat Pig Ltd

Bosco Bristol Ltd

Namak Bristol Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advised Central Swindon South Parish Council on the application process for a premise license for the Town Gardens.
  • Advised the Bristol Centre for the Advancement of Architecture on applying for a license for a cafe bar.
  • Advised a client on the transfer of a license following the licenseholder’s sudden death.