Chris Rees-Gay

Chris was part of the original team when Woods Whur was founded, before leaving for a brief stint with the licensing team at Pinsent Masons.  He has now returned to Woods Whur to focus solely on licensing law, which he has specialised in since 2010. 

Chris deals with all aspects of licensing, both contentious and non-contentious.  He has experience of submitting all forms of licensing applications, appearing at licensing sub-committees and appeal hearings in Magistrates’ Courts. In Chambers it states “he is very engaged and always available, he has been brilliant”. In the Legal 500 it states “Chris Rees-Gay has delivered for us every time we have needed him. Honest, thorough and held in high regard by everyone who knows of him. The absolute professional”.


Chris’ focus in recent years has been acting for gambling operators (both remote and non-remote) in relation to high profile Gambling Commission Operating Licence Reviews.  In most cases managing to secure a ‘regulatory settlement’ for the operator, ensuring that they were able to continue trading.

He has also assisted William Hill Online on a significant world-wide jurisdiction project, as part of their application for a Nevada Gaming Licence.  In addition, he has advised a US Operator in relation to a European wide multi-jurisdiction project, determining whether the product offered would be deemed a lottery.

On returning to Woods Whur he is now focusing on AGC premises licence applications.


Chris has acted in relation to all types of Licensing Act 2003 premises licences, including: festivals, nightclubs, bars, restaurants, hotels and take-away premises, all over England and Wales.  He has undertaken contested hearings for one of the largest supermarket retailers in the country, against police, environmental health and residential opposition and has a proven track record.  

As well as acting for large national companies, he also represents a number of independent operators based in Leeds.  Securing the first premises licence to be granted in the Leeds Cumulative Impact ‘Red’ Zone.

Chris specialises in Festivals and large events.  Examples include Mint Festival and World Island, as well as securing the premises licence for the World Cycling Championships Fan Zone in 2019.  His success in this area relates to his ability to work closely with the relevant SAG (Safety Advisory Group) team members. This is recognised by the quote in the Legal 500 that states he has “considerable expertise in relation to festival and large event licensing”.

Chris has extensive experience in due diligence support in relation to the buying and selling of Premiership Football clubs relating to alcohol premises licences, track premises licences and all other associated stadium licences.

Civic Licensing

Chris is also experienced in dealing with associated licences, including approvals for marriage/civil partnership premises certificates, street café licences and TheMusicLicence (formerly PPL/PRS for Music).   Additionally, he has advised in relation to Sexual Entertainment Venue Licensing with applications in London, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Harrogate.