Representations, reviews, complaints, and appeals

Appeal against a gambling licensing decision

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of a licensing hearing where you were the applicant or a party to the hearing (someone who raised a relevant representation), you can appeal through the courts against the decision of the Licensing Authority

What decisions can be appealed

Appeals can be made about a decision on an application for a:

  • Premises licence
  • Variation to an existing licence
  • Review of an existing licence
  • Provisional Statement
  • Transfer of premises licence

Who can appeal?

Any person or body has the right to appeal against a decision of the Licensing Committee provided they were the applicant or a party to the hearing (someone who raised a relevant representation). They can appeal if they think:

  • The licence should or should not have been granted
  • The Licensing Committee should have imposed different, less or extra conditions on the licence

How to appeal?

You should appeal in writing to the designated officer for the magistrates’ court in the area where the premises is situated. In Wandsworth this is usually:

South Western Magistrates' Court
176a Lavender Hill
London SW11 1JU

DX 58559 Clapham Junction Court number 2649

You must make your appeal within 21 days of being formally told of the Licensing Committees’ decision in writing.

In hearing an appeal the court will have regard to the council's Statement of Policy and Principles, the Gambling Commissions Guidance and Codes of Practice and the licensing objectives.

You should contact the magistrates' court to check how to make an appeal. There is usually a fee when you lodge an appeal.

Once an appeal has been made

The magistrates' court has three options after receiving an appeal. It can:

  • Dismiss the appeal
  • Substitute the decision for any other decision we could have made as the licensing authority  
  • Send the case back to us and tell us how to deal with it

Usually, there is an initial hearing at the magistrates' court. At this time the court will decide whether there is a case and whether it will hear the case or send it back to the Licensing Committee to deal with.

If the court decides to hear the matter itself, it will normally adjourn to a 'full hearing' date when it will have the time to decide the case.

Procedure at an appeal hearing

We, as the licensing authority, and the party to the hearing who have not called the appeal (this may be the applicant or those who had raised representation) will be the 'respondents' to the appeal. We will normally be present at appeal hearings.

The person appealing would normally open the case and call his or her witnesses. However, in licensing cases, the court may invite the respondents (normally the licensing authority) to speak first, if everyone agrees.

This is to help the court understand how we came to our licensing decision in the first place. Usually, anyone at an appeal hearing can call on witnesses to support their case (for example, other local residents or responsible authorities such as the police).

Please note that in cases where a licence applicant or licence holder appeals against our decision, any responsible authorities (such as the police) and any other person who made representations will not usually be classed as 'respondents' at appeal hearings, under the terms of the Gambling Act 2005.

However, in such cases, people who made representations can ask that the court make them a respondent, or we can call on them as a 'witness' to back up the decision we made.

Standard of evidence

Appellants should seek legal representation and / or contact the relevant court for further advice.

Legal costs

If you appeal against the Licensing Committees' decision and you are unsuccessful, the court can award costs against you. This would mean you have to pay other parties' legal costs as well as your own.

However, the Magistrates' Association and the Justices' Clerks Society have said that awarding costs for a licensing appeal should be an exception, not a rule, and any resident with reasonable grounds for an appeal should not be penalised.

What happens next?

The court tells all interested parties of its decisions, and the reasons, within three working days.

There is a further right of appeal from the magistrate’s court to the High Court.

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