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Guidance to licensing authorities

The Gambling Commission's guidance for licensing authorities.


2 - Giving reasons for decisions

12.2. It is a requirement of the Act that a licensing authority gives reasons for a rejection of an application (for example, Schedule 8 of The Gambling Act 2005 (Premises Licences and Provisional Statements) Regulations 2007 (opens in new tab) prescribes the form of notice that must be given when an application is rejected, which includes the reasons for rejection) but it is good practice for reasons to be given in relation to all decisions.

12.3. A failure to give reasons may result in an appeal of the decision or the suggestion that the licensing authority did not have regard to all the relevant information when making its decision, in line with its obligation under s.153 of the Act. It is particularly important that reasons should reflect the extent to which the decision has been made with regard to the licensing authority’s statement of policy and this guidance. Reasons for decisions should be made available to all of the parties of any process.

Premises licences

12.4. Details relating to appeals against decisions by a licensing authority are set out in s.206-209 of the Act. These relate to decisions made under Part 8 of the Act, namely:

  • applications for a premises licence
  • applications to vary or transfer a premises licence
  • applications for provisional statements
  • reviews of premises licences, either at the licensing authority’s instigation or following an application.

Who can appeal

12.5. The table below identifies who can appeal different types of premises licence decisions.

Type of decision Section of ActWho may appeal
Decision to reject an application for a premises licence or to vary a premises licence, or an application for a provisional statements.165, s.187 and s.188The applicant
Decision to grant an application for a premises licence or to vary a premises licence, or an application for a provisional statements.164, s.187 and s.188The applicant
Any person who made representations on the application
Decision to take action or to take no action following a reviews.202The applicant
Any person who made representations on the application
The person, if any, who applied for the review
The Commission
A decision to take action or make a determination in relation to a transfer applications.188(4) or (5)The licensee
The applicant for transfer

Who to appeal to

12.6. An appeal against a decision of a licensing authority in England and Wales has to be made to the Magistrates’ Court for the local justice area in which the premises concerned are situated. In Scotland, the appeal is made to the local Sheriff court in the Sheriffdom in which the premises are situated.

12.7. There is a further right of appeal from the Magistrates’ Court to the High Court in England and Wales and from the Sheriff to the Court of Session in Scotland.

How to appeal

12.8. To begin an appeal, the appellant must give notice of their appeal within 21 days of their having received notice of the relevant decision. During that period, and until any appeal that has been brought has been finally determined, a determination or other action by the licensing authority will not have effect unless the licensing authority so directs.

12.9. If the licence holder or the person who made the application appeals, the licensing authority will be the respondent. If the appeal is made by someone else, then the licence holder or applicant will be a respondent to the appeal along with the licensing authority.

Determination and outcome of appeals

12.10. In considering an appeal, the Magistrates’ Court or Sheriff may review the merits of the decision on the facts and consider points of law, in conjunction with the evidence. In making their decision they will have regard to the licensing authority’s statement of policy, this guidance and relevant codes of practice, Licence conditions and codes of practice (LCCP) issued by the Commission and the licensing objectives.

12.11. In deciding the appeal, they may:

  • dismiss the appeal
  • substitute the decision with any other decision that could have been made by the licensing authority
  • remit the case back to the licensing authority to deal with the appeal in accordance with the direction of the Court or Sheriff.

12.12. The Court or Sheriff may also make such order for costs, but will consider guidance and legislation about the awarding of costs against a public body.

Implementing the appeal decision

12.13. As soon as the appeal decision has been notified to all parties, licensing authorities should not delay its implementation. Standing orders should, therefore, be put in place that necessary action is taken immediately on receipt of the decision, unless ordered by the Court or Sheriff or a higher court to suspend such action, for example as a result of a judicial review.


The applicant may appeal, even though the application was granted, for example, because they consider that conditions attached to the licence are too onerous.

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