The British Beer and Pub Association and others v Canterbury City Council: Admn 24 Jun 2005

The council had required of applicants for liquor licenses more detailed information than was required by the statute. The Association challenged their policy.
Held: One aim of the legislation is to allow licensing authorities to provide a ‘light touch bureaucracy’ with greater freedom and flexibility for businesses and the avoidance of disproportionate standard conditions. If a policy misleads an applicant into believing that he must meet certain requirements in relation to his application and that he lacks the freedom accorded to him by the Act and Regulations, the policy is contrary to the legislative scheme and is unlawful under Padfield. The policy was over-prescriptive in a number of places, suggesting the existence of requirements that cannot lawfully be imposed on applicants. On the promise of the respondent council to incorporate a schedule which would bring the policy back within lawful grounds, no relief was ordered.
Richards J said: ‘I accept the claimant’s contention that a statement of licensing policy is unlawful if and in so far as it has those features. The scheme of the legislation is to leave it to applicants to determine what to include in their applications, subject to the requirements of section 17 and the Regulations as to the prescribed form and the inclusion of a statement of specified matters in the operating schedule. An applicant who makes the right judgment, so that the application gives rise to no relevant representations, is entitled to the grant of a licence without the imposition of conditions beyond those consistent with the content of the operating schedule and any mandatory conditions. The licensing authority has no power at all to lay down the contents of an application and has no power to assess an application, or to exercise substantive discretionary powers in relation to it, unless there are relevant representations and the decision-making function under section 18(3) is engaged. If a policy creates a different impression, and in particular if it misleads an applicant into believing that he must meet certain requirements in relation to his application and that he lacks the freedom accorded to him by the Act and Regulations, the policy is contrary to the legaslative scheme and is unlawful on Padfield grounds (Padfield v Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food [1968] AC 997).’


Richards J


[2005] EWHC 1318 (Admin), Times 11-Jul-2005




Licensing Act 2003 5


England and Wales


CitedPadfield v Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food HL 14-Feb-1968
Exercise of Ministerial Discretion
The Minister had power to direct an investigation in respect of any complaint as to the operation of any marketing scheme for agricultural produce. Milk producers complained about the price paid by the milk marketing board for their milk when . .
CitedRegina (on the Application of Chorion Plc) v Westminster City Council Admn 5-Oct-2001
A licensing policy had been challenged and then amended by the defendant council to meet the claimant’s concerns. Though the remaining issue was as to costs; the judge had to decide whether the challenge had been well founded.
Held: The policy . .
CitedQuietlynn Ltd v Plymouth City Council QBD 1987
A company operated sex shops in Plymouth under transitional provisions which allowed them to do so until their application for a licence under the scheme introduced by the Act had been ‘determined.’ The local authority refused the application. The . .
CitedRegina v Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council ex parte Andrew Tew; George Daniel Milne; and Steven Garner Admn 7-May-1999
An outline application for a shopping development, gave no details of the expected floor area, and nor was there an environmental assessment.
Held: The failure to give the floor area was not critical, but even at this stage the ommission of . .
CitedRegina v London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham And Others, ex parte Burkett and Another HL 23-May-2002
The applicant sought judicial review of the respondent’s grant of planning permission for a development which would affect her. The authority objected that the application was made after three months after their decision, and so leave should not be . .

Cited by:

CitedJD Wetherspoon Plc, Regina (on the Application Of) v Guildford Borough Council Admn 11-Apr-2006
The company sought judicial review of the decision of the respondent to apply its cumulative impact policy to their application for extended licensing hours.
Held: The company’s application amounted to a material variation of the license, and . .
CitedAlbert Court Residents Association and Others, Regina (on The Application of) v Corporation of The Hall of Arts and Sciences Admn 2-Mar-2010
Residents near the Albert Hall objected to the alteration of its licence so as to allow boxing and wrestling activities, and the extension of its opening hours. They said that the advertisements for the alterations failed to receive the prominence . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Licensing, Administrative

Updated: 22 May 2022; Ref: scu.227936