It is vitally important that you check specific hours on your Premises Licence for Sundays as both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve fall on a Sunday in 2017. The terminal hour for a Sunday can be earlier than other nights of the week on many Premises Licences throughout the United Kingdom. Some local policies have Sunday closing hours as early as a 10:30pm or 11:00pm, so you may need a Temporary Event Notice to trade to your desired time on both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Some licences will specify hours for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve which may be later than the standard Sunday hours but not all licences will do so.   You must check your licence as soon as possible and as a matter of policy, ensure that any request for a Temporary Event Notice is sent to us before the end of November 2017. It may also be a good idea to think about applying to vary your non-standard timings to include later hours for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve if your licence does not already have the benefit of the longer hours.

If you require more information, want us to apply for a Temporary Event Notice or a variation then please contact us either at info@woodswhur.co.uk or by contacting the person responsible for your work.

It is Sunday afternoon, I have walked the dogs and my Yorkshire Puddings are rising nicely as I prepare Sunday dinner for the family. My day off comes to an abrupt end when the operators of Area Nightclub (home of Gatecrasher) contact me to see if I can help them. There has been a major incident in the premises overnight, and as a result of stabbings that occurred, the premises have been closed immediately via a Closure Notice issued by South Yorkshire Police.

Anyone who has dealt with the legislation will know it is very impactful and immediate and can lead to a business disappearing pretty quickly. The legislation in question is the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. This removed s161 of the Licensing Act 2003 and replaced it with the new powers which are available in respect of a wider list of premises, not just licensed premises.

CHAPTER 3 Closure of premises associated with nuisance or disorder etc is the Chapter of the legislation which is relevant. Section 76 of the legislation deals with the power to close premises immediately by service of a closure notice.

S76(1) A police officer of at least the rank of inspector, or the local authority, may issue a closure notice if satisfied on reasonable grounds—

(a) that the use of particular premises has resulted, or (if the notice is not issued) is likely soon to result, in nuisance to members of the public, or

(b) that there has been, or (if the notice is not issued) is likely soon to be, disorder near those premises associated with the use of those premises, and that the notice is necessary to prevent the nuisance or disorder from continuing, recurring or occurring.

(2) A closure notice is a notice prohibiting access to the premises for a period specified in the notice.

(5) A closure notice must—

(a) identify the premises;

(b) explain the effect of the notice;

(c) state that failure to comply with the notice is an offence;

(d) state that an application will be made under section 80 for a closure order;

(e) specify when and where the application will be heard;

(f) explain the effect of a closure order;

(g) give information about the names of, and means of contacting, persons and organisations in the area that provide advice about housing and legal matters.

(6) A closure notice may be issued only if reasonable efforts have been made to inform—

(a) people who live on the premises (whether habitually or not), and

(b) any person who has control of or responsibility for the premises or who has an interest in them, that the notice is going to be issued.

(7) Before issuing a closure notice the police officer or local authority must ensure that any body or individual the officer or authority thinks appropriate has been consulted.

So, the notice had been served, the premises were emptied of customers and were to remain closed for 24 hours, the maximum period permitted under S77(1) of the Act. This was then subsequently extended by 7 hours, as is permitted under S77(4) if authorised by a superintendent.

This meant that I needed to get to the premises and conduct a full audit, including looking at the CCTV and all management controls. Time was tight as, once a notice is served, the snowball is rolling down the hill and picking up pace, as the court must consider whether a closure order should be imposed within 48 hours of it being applied for.

The legislation is brutal:

S 80 Power of court to make closure orders

(1) Whenever a closure notice is issued an application must be made to a magistrates’ court for a closure order (unless the notice has been cancelled under section 78).

(2) An application for a closure order must be made—

(a) by a constable, if the closure notice was issued by a police officer;

(b) by the authority that issued the closure notice, if the notice was issued by a local authority.

(3) The application must be heard by the magistrates’ court not later than 48 hours after service of the closure notice.

(4) In calculating when the period of 48 hours ends, Christmas Day is to be disregarded.

(5) The court may make a closure order if it is satisfied—

(a) that a person has engaged, or (if the order is not made) is likely to engage, in disorderly, offensive or criminal behaviour on the premises, or

(b) that the use of the premises has resulted, or (if the order is not made) is likely to result, in serious nuisance to members of the public, or

(c) that there has been, or (if the order is not made) is likely to be, disorder near those premises associated with the use of those premises, and that the order is necessary to prevent the behaviour, nuisance or disorder from continuing, recurring or occurring.

(6) A closure order is an order prohibiting access to the premises for a period specified in the order. The period may not exceed 3 months.

(7) A closure order may prohibit access—

(a) by all persons, or by all persons except those specified, or by all persons except those of a specified description;

(b) at all times, or at all times except those specified;

(c) in all circumstances, or in all circumstances except those specified.

(8) A closure order—

(a) may be made in respect of the whole or any part of the premises;

(b) may include provision about access to a part of the building or structure of which the premises form part.

(9) The court must notify the relevant licensing authority if it makes a closure order in relation to premises in respect of which a premises licence is in force.

Full instructions taken, we headed for court and hopefully the chance to have a proper conversation with the Police before the hearing. We had been advised to be at court for 10 am. When we arrived there was nothing listed and we were told it would be 2 pm. Fortunately the Police station sits next to the court so we went to see if the Police were amenable to having a conversation with us.

Throughout the morning we were able to discuss a number of measures which the operator was happy to incorporate into the management controls at the premises. The Police thought that if those measures could be placed as conditions on the premises licence, then they would be happy for the premises to be allowed to open. In those circumstances, we agreed to submit a minor variation to add those conditions to the licence and the Police issued a cancellation notice under S78, which meant that the court was no longer seized of anything to adjudicate on and there was no need to adjudicate on the closure order.

This was a great example of how an operator and the responsible authorities can work together for a mediated conclusion which everyone is happy with.

I was delighted to represent Arc Inspirations Limited as a party in the Appeal by J D Wetherspoon PLC against the decision of Leeds City Council to refuse it a new premises licence for the former Elinor Lupton Centre in Headingley.

The Elinor Lupton Centre, being part of the old Leeds Girls High School, sits in a residential area away from the commercial centre of Headingley. A number of residents and Arc Inspirations had objected to the grant of a premises licence for the site. On 29 November 2016 Leeds Licensing Authority’s Licensing Sub-Committee heard the application by J D Wetherspoon PLC and refused to grant it a licence.

District Judge Mallon had accepted my submissions that my client, Arc Inspirations Limited, should be allowed to be an interested party and I represented Arc’s interests at the Appeal. The main issues which Arc wished me to bring out, in support of the residents who also objected, centered around the potential for an increase in crime and disorder, were the application to be granted, through a change to the Otley Run (an organised pub crawl through Headingley) and the impact on major match days at the Headingley Rugby League and Cricket grounds.

My clients chair the Headingley Pubwatch and were deeply concerned that the introduction of a 500 capacity premises in the location applied for could have a significant effect on the overall management of licensed premises in the area. Having led Pubwatch for a number of years and having formed strategies for all operators to comply with in relation to the Otley Run, there were significant concerns that premises such as these could significantly reverse the positive steps that had been achieved.

The case came before District Judge Mallon and Stephen Walsh QC represented the Appellant, with Sarah Clover representing Leeds City Council.

After hearing all of the evidence and submissions on behalf of all parties, District Judge Mallon determined that the licence should not be granted, and therefore dismissed the Appeal. In her judgment she set out that the premises fell within the Headingley Cumulative Impact Policy Area which establishes a rebuttable presumption that new grants of premises licences will be refused, unless the applicant can demonstrate that a grant would not exacerbate the cumulative impact already suffered in the area.

The District Judge found that a 500 capacity premises so close to major sporting stadia and in the heart of the Otley Run would have a negative impact on the licensing objectives. She went on to say: “this brings the Court to what it perceives to be the fundamental contradiction at the heart of the Appellant’s case – it does not want to be a student pub and wants to appeal to local residents, yet two-thirds of these are students; it wants to bring in customers from elsewhere, but has a car park with 17 spaces; it wants to encourage a food-led approach whilst offering shots at 3 for £5. The Court does not doubt the honesty of the Appellant’s case, but it is contradicted by the evidence; and, of course, this analysis is not assisted by the evidence of how the business would respond on the occasions of one or other of the sports grounds hosting a match, with the huge increase in trade that would bring”.

I was delighted with the decision of District Judge Mallon and the fact that, in her reasons, she incorporated many of the issues that I had raised in submissions and cross examination of the witnesses.

I have always been of the view that these premises do not lend themselves to being such a high capacity public house, when the impact would be felt by residents and given the potential for an increase in crime and disorder in the wider area, as a result of major sport events and the Otley Run taking place.

 

I was instructed to represent City Traders, the owners of Club Flamingo on Alie Street, Aldgate, to attempt to have its Sexual Entertainment Venue Licence (SEV) returned after an unsuccessful renewal application in 2016.

The decision which brought about the immediate closure of the venue was like an exam question, made significantly harder by the fact that we had not been instructed from the outset. The Licence had been the subject of a contested annual renewal and non-specialist lawyers had undertaken representation of the company.

SEV applications are always some of the most tricky, and Tower Hamlets Licensing Committee had refused the licence renewal because they had felt distinctly underwhelmed with the quality of the application to renew. There is a lesson to be learnt here: I would never look to represent my clients in attempting to secure a property deal on new premises. I simply do not have the legal training to do my client’s instructions justice. It is the same with Licensing Applications which become contested, particularly SEV applications. Non-specialist representation had meant that many of the subtle issues (and some not so subtle) had been missed. The renewal process in 2016 had got out of hand and, upon reading all of the papers and the decision, I could easily see that the situation would take some unravelling.

The licensing and control of Sex Establishments is governed by the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982. Schedule 3 deals with the licensing and renewal of licences for premises such as Club Flamingo. Paragraphs 8-13 are the critical parts of the Schedule and, in particular, paragraph 12.

Paragraph 12(3) deals with the discretionary grounds that the Licensing Authority has to grant or renew licences.

The discretion to refuse is engaged in the following situations:

(a) that the applicant is unsuitable to hold the licence by reason of having been convicted of an offence or for any other reason;

(b) that if the licence were to be granted, renewed or transferred the business to which it relates would be managed by or carried on for the benefit of a person, other than the applicant, who would be refused the grant, renewal or transfer of such a licence if he made the application himself;

(c) that the number of sex establishments in the relevant locality at the time the application is made is equal to or exceeds the number which the authority consider is appropriate for that locality;

(d) that the grant or renewal of the licence would be inappropriate, having regard —

(i) to the character of the relevant locality; or

(ii )to the use to which any premises in the vicinity are put; or

(iii) to the layout, character or condition of the premises, vehicle, vessel or stall in respect of which the application is made.

The Licensing Committee had refused the 2016 renewal application for Club Flamingo under sub-paragraphs (a) and (d). This refusal meant that any attempt to over turn the decision became complicated. We lodged an appeal to Thames Magistrates Court for the refusal under para (a) as the legislation gives a statutory right of appeal. The lodging of the appeal stays the decision of the Authority. If that were the only ground for refusal then the premises would have been allowed to reopen.

BUT, and it was a big BUT, the renewal had also been refused under para (d), which has no statutory right of appeal. As a result, we worked in collaboration with Philip Kolvin QC of Cornerstone Chambers to apply for permission to judicially review this ground of refusal, and we had to apply for a stay of the decision while the High Court adjudicated on the point, as there is no automatic stay under this para.

We were granted permission, and a stay, which in these types of cases is hugely significant as it means that the premises can reopen and trade pending the substantive decisions in the Magistrates’ Court Appeal and the High Court action. Philip Kolvin QC had persuaded the High Court on his written submissions that there was an arguable case, which was a major step in unlocking the issues.

I am grateful that, at this stage, Tower Hamlets Council representatives accepted our invitation to meet and discuss the full case, as I had never had an opportunity to engage with the Authority previously, due to not being instructed from the outset.

I was able to supply significantly more information about the company, operation and management of the business than had been made available to the Licensing Committee as part of the previous renewal application. We were able to offer additional conditions to be attached to the licence, and as a result the Authority agreed to settle both the statutory appeal and the Judicial Review proceedings, something which allowed the licensee to have certainty to continue to invest.

This was all concluded satisfactorily last week, when the Licensing Authority agreed to renew the licence again for 2017-2018. A considerable amount of work had been undertaken to unravel the issues of the previous refusal.

 

I am delighted that I was able to secure planning permission for a change of use for the former bank in Guiseley which will become a Potting Shed.  This is the sixth Potting Shed unit that I have been able to secure a licence upon and the first where I have appeared on behalf of the client before the Plans Panel to secure planning. It is a fantastic and growing family friendly brand.

The application for change of use had 76 objections from local residents and the two Local Ward Councillors also objected to the application.

The South and West Plans Panel of Leeds City Council considered the application yesterday and I was delighted to persuade them to grant the change of planning use with a vote of 7 in favour of the application and  2 against the application.

The panel accepted that although there was a localised level of objection to the application that the application had been promoted in a proactive way and followed policy. They also thought that there were significant benefits to the grant and also the operator had a good track record elsewhere.

We had held a public meeting in Guiseley to explain what the scheme entailed and had agreed a number of specific conditions with the Planning Officer in relation to the build fit out and opening hours of the premises.

I was delighted to work with Carl Copestake from Knights who leads their planning department.  It was beneficial to have a planner and myself with detailed knowledge of the company and the site to deal with the questions raised by the Planning Panel. 

This now gives the greenlight for the operator to fit out the redundant building and have it open in time for Christmas trading. 

I was recently asked to advise a client on what did and what did not constitute regulated entertainment under the Licensing Act 2003.  The background to the question was a fairly complicated one in that  a Premises Application conducted by my client in person had been refused and objections had been received to Temporary Event Notice applications, on the ground of nuisance.  My client was looking to explore the possibility of running an event without a Temporary Event Notice or Premises Licence and wanted my advice on what could and could not take place. A fairly straightforward question I thought! 

As a general rule, live and recorded music would be licensable under the Licensing Act 2003 but there are of course numerous exemptions.  The Live Music Act 2012 created exemptions for live amplified music in unlicensed premises (which didn’t apply in this case) and for unamplified music elsewhere (no audience limit 08:00 – 23:00).  Some entertainment facilities (stages, microphone stands) have not been licensable since October 2012 and recorded music in unlicensed premises benefits from the same exemption as live music, which also covers DJs and discos. 

I thought I would just check a number of points in the section 182 Guidance and I have to admit that I am not sure that I have either looked at this recently or remember looking at it at all.  I turned to Chapter 16, expecting to see a few paragraphs on the subject, and was somewhat surprised to see that the Chapter on regulated entertainment runs to 28 pages.  This compares to 8 pages in Chapter 11 on reviews, 8 pages in Chapter 2 on the licensing objectives, 5 pages in Chapter 5 on who needs a Premises Licence and even 6 pages in Chapter 7 for Temporary Event Notice.  Indeed, the chapter on regulated entertainment is the same length as the chapters on Temporary Event Notices, reviews and who needs a premises licence, all put together!

My client wanted advice on private events, which are dealt with at paragraph 16.1.3.  This starts well: “Events held in private are not licensable unless those attending are charged for the entertainment with a view to making a profit”.  Just because a musician charges the organiser of a private event, this does not of itself make the entertainment licensable.  This makes sense – you could have a private party at home and pay a musician to attend.  It only becomes licensable if guests attending are themselves charged, with a view to achieving a profit.

If, therefore, you want to hold a wedding on private land and you pay the landowner to provide wedding facilities and entertainment facilities, then that event is licensable because the landowner is charging the wedding couple with a view to achieving a profit.  If, however, the wedding couple paid the landowner for use of the land but paid the entertainer directly, without the landowner having any involvement in organising the entertainment, the music would not amount to regulated entertainment and would not be licensable.  The wedding couple are not seeking to make a profit in paying the entertainer and do not (as a general rule!) charge their guests to attend their wedding.

The chapter of the s182 Guidance continues setting out circumstances in which entertainment activities are no longer licensable, for example those staged by local authorities, hospital health care providers and school proprietors.  We often get queries from school premises with regard to musical entertainment and also from community premises, which are dealt with at 16.2.1.  No licence is required for the performance of live music or the playing of recorded music on community premises between 08:00 and 23:00, as long as there is no Premises Licence permitting the sale of alcohol, there are less than 500 people attending and the written consent of the  community premises’ management committee has been obtained.

Live music is dealt with at paragraphs 16.2.6 – 16.2.9, with key terms used in relation to live music explored at paragraphs 16.3.0 – 16.3.2. 

If you have a Premises Licence which authorises live music and/or recorded music, what is the position now that live music and/or recorded music is exempt under the Live Music Act?  Paragraph 16.3.6 of the s182 Guidance confirms that any existing licence conditions relating to live music or recorded music remain in place, but are suspended between 08:00 and 23:00, as long as the Premises are open for the sale of alcohol and the audience is less than 500.  

Where we have encountered difficulties sometimes is in advising clients on whether a licence condition does in fact relate to live or recorded music.  General management conditions may have been placed on the licence with an eye or ear on potential noise nuisance but it may not specifically relate to the provision of entertainment.  It could relate to noise from customers or noise from entertainment.  Holders of Premises Licences need to be very careful therefore, if they are determining that a licence condition is not applicable.  In many ways, common sense should prevail and the general duty to promote the licensing objectives and to prevent a nuisance still applies, so if the condition promotes the objectives and prevents a nuisance then Premises Licence holders should apply the conditions. 

There are further paragraphs in the Guidance on incidental music. Incidental music is not regulated entertainment if it is incidental to another activity which does not itself fall within a description of entertainment under paragraph 2 of Schedule 1 to the 2003 Act (clear as mud!).  Whether or not recorded music is incidental is one of the most regular questions we get asked when preparing new applications.  The Guidance sets out, at paragraph 16.5.9?  some factors which may be considered:

  • is the music the main or one of the main reasons for people attending the Premises and being charged;
  • is the music advertised as the main attraction; and
  • does the volume of music disrupt or predominate over other activities or could it be described as background music.

All of this is incredibly subjective and therefore difficult to enforce.  What is background music at 1:00pm whilst customers are having lunch, will be completely different to background music at 11:00pm, as the music might well be considerably louder and yet could still be classed as incidental and background music.

The Chapter of the Guidance ends by referring to other licensing regimes, such as those covering copyrighting and leafleting, and it is also necessary to consider whether the “entertainment” requires any other form of licence such as a TV licence or indeed a licence from the maker/broadcaster of any film or advert.

If in doubt, read the guidance, or contact us for advice!

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has introduced a revised Food Law Code of Practice (the Code) and at 158 pages, only the most determined of readers may wish to tackle it!

At face value it is a document which local authority Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) are much more likely than you to have on their desk.

However, it contains a variety of interesting developments, which, as a food business operator, you should be aware of.

As with most documents like this, the devil is in the detail and there are some useful changes, as well as worrying ones!

Usefully, the Code attempts to facilitate consistency across local authorities in relation to compliance and enforcement action.  For those of you who operate in a number of different local authority areas, this has to be welcomed and gives some hope that consistency of approach can be achieved when operating in different areas across the country.

It also indicates that those businesses with good food hygiene standards and compliance may find they have less frequent EHO visits.  As you have probably guessed, those in the past who have perhaps missed more regular and detailed scrutiny in terms of compliance are to face more inspection and intervention in the future, based on risk and non-compliance.

This is due to a new food establishment intervention scoring system, which determines the frequency  at which a business is visited.  As you would imagine, this is determined by using risk assessment criteria.  The local authority will assess the hazards, the level of compliance by the business to date, risks, and the confidence it has in the management structure of the business. 

These criteria produce a score and this in turn gives a rating which determines the minimum frequency for intervention.

In the past, individual local authorities determined the level of their inspections, however the Code is designed to provide a consistent benchmark to be used by EHOs throughout the country.

Overall, the message to take from the Code is clear.  If you have a good record of compliance and maintain it, local EHOs will have confidence in you to operate a business which complies with the law and the level of inspection will fall.  If none of those factors apply, you can expect more visits and if non-compliance is found, there will be further intervention and enforcement action.

As I have previously discussed in other articles regarding the new sentencing guidance, which applies to food safety offences, this is not somewhere any business needs to be these days!

 

The Gambling Commission (“GC”) published its Business Plan last year for April 2016 to March 2017, pledging to put consumers first and urging operators to do the same. This was hotly followed by its Consumer Plan, described as “a two-way conversation” in which the GC committed to putting consumers at the heart of everything it does, by, for example, making its publications more accessible and continuing to develop its Contact Centre responsiveness and service standards.

Two further recent developments that champion consumers need to be noted by the gambling industry – the publication by the Advertising Standards Authority (“ASA”) of Guidance for the sector on affiliate marketing, and the extension of the services of Resolver to assist consumers in managing complaints about gambling operators and their transactions.

The ASA Guidance was published on 21 July and a full copy may be found here: https://www.asa.org.uk/news/gambling-on-your-affiliates.html. The Guidance applies to non-broadcast affiliate marketing only and essentially emphasises to gambling operators that they bear “primary responsibility” to ensure that advertisements placed on their behalf comply with the Committee of Advertising Practice (“CAP”) Code. In effect, this means that they are entirely responsible for compliance, not simply with the general Chapter of the CAP Code prohibiting misleading, irresponsible or offensive advertising, but also with the specific Chapter of the Code relating to gambling, which may be found here: https://www.asa.org.uk/type/non_broadcast/code_section/16.html. Gambling advertisements must not, for example, suggest that a player’s personality, self-image or financial security are likely to improve via gambling. Operators should be aware that, if their affiliates do not act compliantly, they will bear sole, or at the very least joint, liability.

In the latest Guidance, the ASA highlights the requirement that operators ensure that their affiliates are not placing advertisements in a socially irresponsible way and, in particular, not targeting the underage, including on social media. This follows their 6 June Guidance on age-restricted advertisements online, a copy of which may be found here: https://www.asa.org.uk/asset/F0AB1553-1212-4106-8C6E6C0047FEBEBA/ That Guidance focussed on the fact that almost 9 in 10 children aged 5 to 15 go online, a large proportion of whom have their own social media profile. Against that backdrop, the ASA is keen to ensure that advertisements for age-restricted products, including gambling, do not reach an underage audience and expects advertisers to use all the data at their disposal, whether that be actively provided by users, inferred from their behaviour or based on information provided from their devices, to ensure that this does not happen.

The July Guidance also makes it clear that advertisements placed by affiliates must be readily identifiable as such, via sufficiently prominent labelling, and that any significant conditions or restrictions applying to promotions must be made clear and transparent. All terms and conditions must be clearly communicated, where to do otherwise might mislead the consumer.

Resolver is an online tool that enables consumers to track and manage any complaints that they might have about products or services. It already works with other key regulators such as the Financial Ombudsman, and is now working with the GC. The extension of Resolver to cover the gambling sector was announced in July.

The GC has shared information about the new Resolver product, whilst stressing that it is independent and not linked to it in any way. Full details, including a link to the Resolver website and FAQs, may be found here: http://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/news-action-and-statistics/news/2017/Consumers-can-use-Resolver-to-manage-their-gambling-complaints.aspx

Resolver has been available from 1 August. It is a free, independent, online tool for consumers which provides information about the issue the consumer wants to complain about, and advice and support on how to write emails and letters of complaint. Resolver is not an intermediary or Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) entity. It does not act on the consumer’s behalf but, instead, helps consumers to structure their complaint and to make informed decisions about the action to take.

This should, in turn, enable operators to deal with complaints more efficiently and to manage customer expectations. Resolver also enables customers to store all of the information about their complaint in one place, and acts as an email service. The GC expects operators to accept customer complaints sent via a Resolver email address, just as they would complaints sent from any other email address.

Despite the two entities being independent, the GC has collaborated with Resolver to develop the information that Resolver uses about gambling.

Resolver has now provided more details for operators, in particular on how the system will operate and on how operators can ensure that the appropriate information surrounding complaints reaches them. The full advice may be found here: http://www.resolving.uk/resolver-gambling-commission-team-up/

Resolver says that its website is designed to ensure the simple and effective management of complaints, for both consumers and companies. It also provides an escalation process to enable the parties to reach a satisfactory outcome. The escalation process applies both within a company and potentially to the GC, in appropriate cases.

Resolver is gradually adding gambling companies to its system, starting with the largest (a process that will take months), but does not expect an immediate influx of complaints about gambling, as it takes some time for consumers to become aware of its services.

Resolver stresses the importance of routeing complaints to the most appropriate part of an organisation in ensuring a quick and satisfactory outcome, so is encouraging operators to contact it with details of appropriate individuals, escalation contacts and ADR entity. These details may be sent to gambling@resolver.co.uk

It will be interesting to see what the uptake by consumers and operators alike of Resolver is, and the extent to which it will play a positive role in enabling consumers’ complaints about gambling – of which we are seeing an ever-increasing number – to be resolved speedily and to the satisfaction of all involved. It also remains to be seen whether the service will benefit or undermine operators, and we will report on this issue further in due course, as the scheme rolls out.

Should you have any queries about the recent moves to further the interests of consumers in gambling, please contact me on 07767782997 or at anna@woodswhur.co.uk.

One of the new areas that will be covered in the 4th edition of Manchester on Alcohol and Entertainment Licensing Law when it is published later this year –the book is currently at proof-reading stage, after which it will be ready to go to the printers – is changes made to the Licensing Act 2003 (2003 Act) by provisions in the Immigration Act 2016 (2016 Act) and powers contained in the 2016 Act that might affect premises having a premises licence or other authorisation under the 2003 Act. The latter includes a power in s 38 and Sched 6 for immigration officers to issue an illegal working closure notice (IWCN) in respect of any premises where an employer operating at the premises is employing an illegal worker and there has been a previous breach of illegal working legislation. The IWCN prohibits, for a period specified in the notice, access to the premises and paid or voluntary work being performed on the premises unless in either instance there is written authorisation from an immigration officer. The maximum period is normally 24 hours, although it can be 48 hours if the IWCN is issued by an immigration officer of at least the rank of immigration inspector. Paragraph 2(2)–(5) of Sched 6 provides:

(2) The maximum period that may be specified in an illegal working closure notice is 24 hours unless sub-paragraph (3) applies.
(3) The maximum period is 48 hours if the notice is issued by an immigration officer of at least the rank of immigration inspector.
(4) In calculating when the period of 48 hours ends, Christmas Day is to be disregarded.
(5) The period specified in an illegal working closure notice to which subparagraph (3) does not apply may be extended by up to 24 hours if an extension notice is issued by an officer of at least the rank of immigration inspector.

There is an element of uncertainty here in respect of the extent to which Christmas Day is to be disregarded and the following section is what the 4th edition will say on this matter.

It is clear from para 2(4) that Christmas Day is to be disregarded when calculating the

48 hour period mentioned in para 2(3) and thus an IWCN issued on the day before

Christmas might extend through Christmas Day and Boxing Day without exceeding

the 48 hour period. Less clear is whether Christmas Day is to be disregarded when an

extension notice is issued extending the period of up to 24 hours by a further period

of up to 24 hours (and the position is the same in respect of closure notices under s 76

of the ASBCPA 2014 – see 11.14.4 above). One view is that it ought not to be disregarded

because, although the period here might be 48 hours, the reference in para 2(4)

to disregarding Christmas Day seems to refer to the 48 hour period mentioned in para

2(3) i.e. an IWCN issued in the first instance for a period of up to 48 hours. This might

be reinforced by the fact that the provision in para 2(4) on disregarding Christmas day

precedes any reference to extending the period of up to 24 hours by a further period

of up to 24 hours, since this provision is contained in a later subparagraph, para 2(5).

On this view, focusing on the wording of para 2, Christmas Day will not be disregarded

but will be taken into account when an IWCN is issued for up to 24 hours on

the day before Christmas and the period is then subsequently extended. Another

view, based on a purposive interpretation of para 2(4), is that if Parliament intended

Christmas Day is to be disregarded when calculating a continuous 48 hour period (the

period specified in para 2(3)) it might reasonably be taken to have intended that it

should also be disregarded when calculating a cumulative 48 hour period (the period

specified in para 2(5)). The period is essentially the same in each instance and if

Christmas Day is to be disregarded in one instance it is difficult to see why it should

not be disregarded in the other. That said, it seems that Christmas Day is not to be

wholly disregarded, since there is no exclusion in para 2 of Christmas Day in respect

of an IWCN issued for a period of up to 24 hours. Such an IWCN might therefore

encompass part or all of Christmas Day, notwithstanding that the specimen IWCN in

Annex B of the IW Guidance appears to suggest to the contrary (‘This notice shall

cease to have effect immediately before [insert time 24 or 48 hours from time of issue

excluding Christmas Day] on [insert date] unless an extension notice is issued or the

court orders that it is to continue in force’). Although the two competing views seem

to be finely balanced and it is difficult to state a ‘better view’, it is submitted that the

balance is marginally tipped in favour of Christmas Day being disregarded under

para 2(4) only in respect of an IWCN issued in the first instance for a period of up to

48 hours. This view seems to accord with the meaning of ‘the period of 48 hours’ in

para 2(4) when taken in the context of para 2 as a whole and with Parliament not

intending, on the wording of para 2, that Christmas Day is to be disregarded in all

circumstances.

As you can see from the second sentence in the text above, the same point arises in respect of closure notices issued under s 76 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 (ASBCPA 2014), which have replaced the (now repealed) closure power provisions for identified premises that were contained in s 161-166 of the 2003 Act. This reflects the fact that the IWCN provisions in the 2016 Act were closely modelled on the closure notice provisions in the ASBCPA 2014 and, in consequence, the uncertainty in respect of Christmas Day is not confined to the ASBCPA 2014 but also extends to the 2016 Act!

© Colin Manchester

Andy and I are delighted to announce that we have been shortlisted in the “Best Niche Law Firm” Category of the Yorkshire Legal Awards.

We see it as a great accolade just to be nominated, and now await the awards dinner on 12th October to see if we come away with the top prize.

Woods Whur will be celebrating our 6th Birthday on the night of the dinner, which is lovely timing for us. We have seen significant growth in those 6 years and are delighted that we now have Anna Mathias, James Thompson, Vinnie Schumacher and Paul Holland in our team of lawyers. This has also meant that we have grown our national presence, with London and Newcastle becoming key areas for us to drive into. I will also be celebrating 18 years of working with Carole Collingwood in October, which is amazing. Carole heads the strongest administration team we have had, as we grow our national presence from our Leeds base. We have also seen the addition of significant new national clients this year: the Rank Group (Mecca Bingo, Grosvenor Casinos and Luda Bingo), and the Casual Dining Group (Bella Italia, Café Rouge and Belgo). Together with the new additions, we have seen many of our long-standing clients go from strength to strength, with new brands and new sites in Leeds, London and around the country.

Exciting times for all at Woods Whur.

Paddy