Licensing lawyer gives evidence at House of Lords

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Licensing lawyer gives evidence at House of Lords

One of the UK’s leading licensing experts, from Birmingham-based law firm Emms Gilmore Liberson, has given evidence to the House of Lords as part of a widescale review of licensing laws.

Peter Adkins, who is Director of Regulatory Services at the firm, was invited to speak before the House of Lords Select Committee, which is reviewing the Licensing Act 2003.

Peter, who is regularly listed as recommended in  The Legal 500 for his expertise in licensing and gambling law, is legal adviser to a number of national and local club groupings, including the Alliance of British Clubs.

He joined other licensing experts, including representatives from the Working Men’s Club and Institute Union and the Association of London Clubs, at the House of Lords Select Committee.

He said: “It was a particular honour to be invited to speak before the 12 Lords who make up the Select Committee. Their questions covered a wide range of topics, including our views on the effectiveness of the Act, whether the Club Premises Certificate system is working as intended, and the effect of brewery ties on clubs.

“The Committee members were clearly very knowledgeable about the day-to-day workings of the Act and they asked detailed questions about how it could be improved or changed. I left feeling that they had listened carefully to what was said.”

The Licensing Act 2003, which came into effect in November 2005, enabled premises to apply to serve alcohol for 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But critics warned that its introduction would lead to public health problems and an increase in binge drinking.

When inviting experts to submit evidence as part of the review earlier this year, Baroness McIntosh of Pickering, chairman of the select committee, said: “While many heralded the Act as the start of a more continental drinking culture, others predicted round-the-clock consumption, leading to disorder and a deterioration in public health.

“But what has the reality actually been like? Has deregulation allowed the drinks industry to thrive? Have drinkers embraced a more relaxed and healthier approach to alcohol? What happened to the anticipated café culture?

“For good or ill, the Licensing Act has altered the drinking landscape of England and Wales, but an examination of the changes is long overdue.”

The hearing before Peter’s involved the head of legal services for Sainsburys, Waitrose’s manager of regulatory affairs and the customer operations director for Ocado, who discussed how consumer habits have changed with regards to buying alcohol in retail outlets.

Government, local authorities, residents groups, police and magistrates have also given evidence to the committee, which is expected to report on their findings early next year (2017).

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