The Licensing Act 2003 (“the Act”) sets out a procedure whereby a responsible authority or other person may make an application to the Licensing Authority for the review of a premises licence or club premises certificate because of a matter arising at the premises in connection with any of the four licensing objectives.

In every case, the representation must relate to particular premises for which a licence or certificate is in force and must be relevant to the promotion of the licensing objectives.

The Statutory Guidance issued by the Secretary of State in accordance with the Act (“the Guidance”) considers that the procedures to allow a review of a licence represent a key protection for a community where problems associated with crime and disorder, public safety, public nuisance or the protection of children from harm are occurring.

It should be noted that the Guidance recognises that the promotion of the licensing objectives relies heavily on a partnership between licence holders, authorised persons, other persons and responsible authorities in pursuit of common aims.  It is considered good practice for authorised persons and responsible authorities to give licence holders early warning of their concerns about problems identified at the premises concerned and of the need for improvement.  It is expected that a failure to respond to such warnings would lead to a decision to request a review.

Similarly, in the case of other persons, consideration should be given to whether their concerns could be effectively dealt with outside of the formal review process.  Such steps could include:

  • Talking with the licence or certificate holder to establish whether there are any steps they may be willing to take to rectify the situation.
  • Asking the Licensing Section to talk to the licence holder on your behalf.
  • Ask your local MP or Councillor to speak to the licence holder on your behalf.
  • Talking to the relevant “responsible authority” (e.g. public protection in relation to noise nuisance or the police in relation to crime and disorder) to establish whether there is other action that can be taken to resolve the problem.

The Act specifies that only responsible authorities or other persons may seek a review of a premises licence and in the case of club premises certificate, this will also include members of the club.

The responsible authorities are:

  • The Chief Officer of Police;
  • The Fire Authority;
  • The local enforcement agency for the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (either the local authority in some cases or Health and Safety Executive for others);
  • Environmental Health;
  • Trading Standards;
  • The Planning Authority;
  • Social Services;
  • The Primary Care Trust;
  • The Licensing Authority.

    Note: In relation to a vessel only, responsible authorities will include navigation authorities within the meaning of Section 221(1) of the Water Resources Act 1991 which are:

  • The Environmental Agency, the British Waterways Board, and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency

The prevention of crime and disorder

  • Public safety
  • The protection of children from harm
  • The prevention of public nuisance
  • Note: The licensing objectives are of equal importance

Any applicant for the review of a premises licence or club premises certificate must fully complete the prescribed application form and send it to the Licensing Authority.  On the same day as the application is served on the Licensing Authority, the applicant must send copies of the application to all of the responsible authorities and the holder of the licence or certificate.

See the links below for a copy of the application form and contact addresses for the responsible authorities or apply online at the link below.

The Licensing Authority must first consider whether the reasons for the review are relevant to one or more of the licensing objectives.  Secondly, in the case of an application from any person, the Licensing Authority must be satisfied that the application is not frivolous, vexatious or repetitious.

As a general guide:

  • Frivolous and vexatious  Frivolous” or “vexatious” will bear their ordinary meaning. For example, the Licensing Authority might find the representations were vexatious if they arise because of disputes between rival businesses or frivolous if they clearly lacked seriousness.
  • Repetitious  A “repetitious” representation is one that is identical or substantially similar to:
  • A ground for review in an earlier application, which has already been determined
  • Representations considered by the Licensing Authority when the premises licence was first granted
  • Representations made when the application for the licence was first made and were excluded because of the prior issue of a provisional statement
  • In addition to the above grounds, a reasonable interval has not elapsed since any earlier review or the grant of a licence.
  • The review process is not intended to be used simply as a second bite of the cherry following the failure of representations to persuade the Licensing Authority on earlier occasions.  It is for the Licensing Authority to judge what should be regarded as a “reasonable interval” in these circumstances.  However, the Guidance suggests that more than one review from a person should not be permitted within a period of twelve months on similar grounds, save in compelling circumstances (e.g. where new problems have arisen) or where it arises following a closure order.

The Licensing Authority will make arrangements for the display of a notice of the application for review of the licence or certificate as follows:

  • Depending on the circumstances, a notice shall be prominently displayed at, on or near the site of the premises so that it can conveniently be read from the exterior of the premises by the public;
  • At the Civic Offices, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, PO1 2AL in a central and conspicuous place; and
  • On the this website

    The notice is required to be displayed for a period of 28 days (or, in the case of a review following a closure order by the Police, 7 days), during which time, any responsible authority or other person may make a representation concerning the application.

Any representations from any person or responsible authority must be in writing and include details of the party’s full name and address.  They should be sent to:

The Licensing Manager,  
Portsmouth City Council,  
Licensing Section,  
Civic Offices,  
Guildhall Square,  
Portsmouth,  
Hants 
PO1 2AL.

Representations must be received by the Licensing Section no later than the last date specified in the notice, as the Act does not allow the Licensing Authority to consider late representations.

Copies of any representations received will be sent to the holder of the premises licence or club premises certificate in respect of which the application has been made and arrangements will be made for the Council’s Licensing Sub-Committee to hear the application and representations.  Hearings will take place in public, although the Sub-Committee may, in certain instances, decide that it is in the best interest of the public to hold the hearings in private.

The details of all representations (including names and addresses) will be included in a report that will be prepared by officers from the Licensing Section.  These reports are public documents and the Council is required to publish them.

The applicant for the review, the holder of the licence or certificate, any responsible authorities and/or persons will be invited to attend the hearing.  Any party to the proceedings will be able to be assisted or represented by any person at the hearing, regardless of whether or not that person is legally qualified.

Details of the date and time of the hearing together with details of the procedures to be followed will be sent to all those involved at least 10 working days before the day of the hearing.

The applicant for review, other persons and responsible authorities must give notice to the Licensing Authority at least 5 working days before the start of the hearing stating:

  • Whether they will attend the hearing in person;
  • Whether they will be represented by someone else (e.g. lawyer / councillor / MP);
  • Whether you think a hearing is unnecessary (if, for example, parties have reached an agreement before the formal hearing);
  • Any request for another person to attend the hearing, including how they may be able to assist the Licensing Authority in relation to the application.

Yes, representations can be withdrawn by way of giving notice to the Licensing Section no later than 24 hours before the day of the hearing or in person on the day of the hearing.

The Licensing Sub-Committee can still consider the application and any representations in the absence of any party.

The Act sets out what steps the Sub-Committee can take in relation to an application for review of a premises licence or club premises certificate.

The Sub-Committee can either make a decision at the end of hearing or have up to a maximum of 5 days from the day of the hearing, or the last day of the hearing, to come to a decision.

Following consideration of the application, the Sub-Committee may:

  • Decide that no action is necessary to promote the licensing objectives
  • Modify or add conditions to the licence
  • Exclude a licensable activity from the licence
  • Remove the designated premises supervisor
  • Suspend the licence for a period (not exceeding 3 months)
  • Revoke the licence

What action can be taken if an applicant for review, licence holder, responsible authority or other person is unhappy with the decision of the Licensing Sub-Committee?

If an applicant, licence holder, responsible authority or other person is aggrieved by the decision of the Sub-Committee, they can appeal against the decision to Portsmouth Magistrates Court within 21 days of receiving written notification of the Sub-Committee’s decision.

Any persons considering such action are advised to take professional advice prior to commencing such proceedings.

The contact details for the Magistrates’ Court are as follows:

South and South East Hampshire Magistrates’ Court 
Winston Churchill Avenue 
Portsmouth 
Hants 
PO1 2DQ

Telephone:  023 9281 9421

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