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Back To TopIntroduction

10.1 A premises licence may be reviewed by the licensing authority of its own volition or following the receipt of an application requesting a review from a responsible authority or an interested party (as defined in s.157 and s.158 of the Act). Licensing authorities should note that reviews cannot be delegated to an officer of the licensing authority – the lowest level of delegation permitted is to a licensing sub-committee.

10.2 The ‘aim to permit’ framework provides wide scope for licensing authorities to review premises licences where there is a potential conflict with the Commission’s Licence conditions and codes of practice (LCCP) and this guidance, the licensing objectives or the licensing authorities own statement of policy. Whilst the Act does not provide a pre-defined list of issues that might prompt a licence review, it is expected that the licensing authority will have set out its view on local issues and priorities that underpin its approach to regulation in its statement of policy in any event, which might then prompt a review.

10.3 Licensing authorities are expected to act in a manner that is in accordance with the powers set out under the Act. This means that licensing authority actions, including reviews, should be in pursuit of the principles set out in s.153 of the Act or underpinned by reasonable concerns, such as changes to the local environment or resident complaints.

10.4 Licensing authorities might consider it prudent to have constructive discussions with operators about any such concerns, prior to discharging its powers. To this end, the operator might be asked to provide the licensing authority with its own local risk assessment (as provided for under ordinary code 10.1.2 of the LCCP which sets out the controls it has put in place to mitigate risks). The licensing authority has the right to exercise its powers under the Act, if the operator does not offer reasonable or practical suggestions for mitigating risks.

Back To TopInitiation of review by licensing authority

10.5 S.200 of the Act provides that licensing authorities may initiate a review in relation to a particular premises licence or a particular class of premises licence. Licensing authorities may wish to consider in their scheme of delegations who initiates reviews, and any checking system of that to prevent unwarranted reviews from being conducted.

10.6 In relation to a class of premises, the licensing authority may review the use made of premises and, in particular, the arrangements that premises licence holders have made to comply with licence conditions. In relation to these general reviews, it is likely that the licensing authority will be acting as a result of concerns or complaints about particular types of premises, which may result in them looking at, for example, default conditions that apply to that category of licence.

10.7 In relation to particular premises, the licensing authority may review any matter connected with the use made of the premises if:

  • it has reason to suspect that premises licence conditions are not being observed
  • the premises is operating outside of the principles set out in the licensing authority’s statement of policy
  • there is evidence to suggest that compliance with the licensing objectives is at risk
  • for any other reason which gives them cause to believe that a review may be appropriate, such as a complaint from a third party.

10.8 A formal review would normally be at the end of a process of ensuring compliance by the operator(s) which might include an initial investigation by a licensing authority officer, informal mediation or dispute resolution. If the concerns are not resolved then, after a formal review, the licensing authority may impose additional conditions or revoke the licence. 

10.9 The licensing authority must give written notice to the licence holder and responsible authorities that it intends to undertake a review and must also publish notice of its intention to carry out the review. The Gambling Act 2005 (Premises Licences)(Review) Regulations 2007 (SI 2007/2258) and the Gambling Act 2005 (Review of Premises Licences)(Scotland) Regulations 2007 (SSI 2007/394) require the licensing authority to display notice at a place which is as near as reasonably practicable to the relevant premises or where it can be conveniently read by members of the public. The notice must be displayed for no less than 28 consecutive days, starting on the day that the licensing authority gives notice to the holder of the premises licence.

10.10 In addition, the notice must be published either:

  • in a local newspaper or, if there is none, a local newsletter, circular or similar document within the licensing authority’s area, at least once during the period of ten working days from the day on which the licensing authority gives notice to the holder of the premises licence, or
  • on the licensing authority’s internet website for no less than 28 consecutive days, starting on the day that the licensing authority gives notice to the holder of the premises licence.

Back To TopApplication for a review

10.11 S.197 of the Act provides that an application for review may be made by a responsible authority or an interested party, detailed in Part 8 of this guidance. Such applications must be submitted to the licensing authority in the prescribed form and state the reasons why a review is being requested, together with any supporting information and documents.

10.12 The regulations require the applicant to provide written notice of their application to the premises licence holder and to all responsible authorities, within seven days of making their application. Failure to do so will halt the application process until notice is received by all parties.

10.13 Representations must be made within 28 days, commencing seven days after the date on which the application was received. During these seven days the licensing authority is required to publish notice of the application, as per the process set out in the regulations referred to in paragraph 10.9.

Decision whether to grant an application for a review

10.14 S.199 provides that a licensing authority must grant an application for a review, unless it decides to reject the application under s.198 of the Act. By virtue of s.198, an application may, but need not, be rejected if the licensing authority thinks that the grounds on which the review is sought:

  • a) are not relevant to the principles that must be applied by the licensing authority in accordance with s.153,namely the licensing objectives, the Commission’s codes of practice and this guidance, or the licensing authority’s statement of policy
  • b) are frivolous
  • c) are vexatious
  • d) will certainly not cause the licensing authority to revoke or suspend a licence or to remove, amend or attach conditions on the premises licence
  • e) are substantially the same as the grounds cited in a previous application relating to the same premises
  • f) are substantially the same as representations made at the time the application for a premises licence was considered.

10.15 In the case of e) and f), the licensing authority shall take into account the period of time that has passed since the previous application or representations were made, in deciding whether this is a reasonable basis for not reviewing the licence.

10.16 As licensing authorities are required to permit the use of premises for gambling, in so far as it is in accordance with the s.153 principles, applications that raise general objections to gambling as an activity, that relate to demand for gambling premises, or raise issues relating to planning, public safety, and traffic congestion are unlikely to be considered an appropriate basis for review, leading to rejection under a) above.

10.17 The decision to grant a review must not amount to pre-judging the outcome of a review.

Back To TopCarrying out a review

10.18 Having given notice of their intention to initiate a review or having decided to grant a review following an application, s.201 of the Act requires the licensing authority to carry out the review as soon as possible after the 28 day period for making representations has passed.

10.19 The purpose of the review will be to determine whether the licensing authority should take any action in relation to the licence, namely:

  • add, remove or amend a licence condition imposed by the licensing authority
  • exclude a default condition imposed by the Secretary of State or Scottish Ministers (for example, relating to opening hours) or remove or amend such an exclusion
  • suspend the premises licence for a period not exceeding three months
  • revoke the premises licence.

10.20 In particular, the licensing authority may take the above action on the grounds that a premises licence holder has not provided facilities for gambling at the premises. This is to prevent people from applying for licences in a speculative manner without intending to use them. Equally, the premises licence holder must only offer the type of gambling that they are permitted to.

10.21 The licensing authority must hold a hearing, unless the applicant and any person who has made representations consent to the review being conducted without one. The licensing authority must have regard to any relevant representations when reviewing the matter, and must have regard to the principles in s.153 of the Act.

10.22 Once the review has been completed the licensing authority must notify its decision as soon as possible to:

  • the licence holder
  • the applicant for review (if any)
  • the Commission
  • any person who made representations
  • the chief officer of police or chief constable
  • HM Revenue and Customs.

10.23   Rights of appeal are set out in Part 12 of this guidance.