Leading Chester Law Firm Hillyer McKeown have today secured record costs of almost £25,000 against a Local Authority in a Licensing appeal case, making history under the Licensing Act 2003.
Hillyer McKeown along with Licensing Specialist Barrister Sarah Clover of No 5 Chambers Birmingham were appointed to represent Birch House Business Centre Limited which owns the Ruthin based V2 Nightclub.
V2 had their license revoked back in 14th July 2010 by Denbighshire County Council. The Premises Licence was revoked due to what was reported at the time as ‘failing to adhere to strict licensing laws’ following an incident in June 2010 and resident complaints.
The record costs awarded in this case, particularly in light of previous case law protecting Council’s unless they have failed to make ‘a sound administrative decision’ or have acted unreasonably, reflected the courts disapproval of the Council’s decision to revoke the Licence, and the way in which the Council reached its decision.
District Judge Shaw, found that the Council’s decision to revoke V2s Licence could not be supported, and was wrong. In short, the Judge found that the police went in to too hard and too quickly on three separate occasions; repeatedly seeking revocation of the V2 Licence.
Licensing Barrister, Sarah Clover along with the Hillyer McKeown Team consisting of Lisa Benskin, Sara Corley and Richard Linton, repeatedly asked for disclosure of the police incident logs from April 2010. Those police logs were received just three days before the start of the appeal hearing with additional logs being received on the day of the appeal starting. It was clear from the logs that the police had not put the full picture before the committees when talking about incidents that they claimed V2 was responsible for.
Judge Shaw stated that the council should have checked police assertions and looked at the original material.“I find that the strength of the evidence was misrepresented to the licensing committee and thereafter not properly scrutinised by the Respondent Council” he said.
Lisa Benskin, Head of Dispute Resolution at Hillyer McKeown commented “I am extremely happy that Birch House Business Centre, as owners of V2, have been vindicated as a result of the judgment of District Judge Shaw. We’re delighted at the award of substantial costs against the Council in light of their failure to scrutinise the evidence in this matter which could have avoided the revocation of the Licence and the appeal altogether.”
Licensing Barrister Sarah Clover, who worked with Hillyer Mckeown on this case added ’I’m delighted with this outcome for the V2 Nightclub. Disclosure of incident records by the police is a common issue in licensing cases. The decision of District Judge Shaw sends out a very strong message, which is welcomed’.
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