Complain (apply for a review) of a licensed premises/club

About the review process

The review process is not intended to be used simply as a second bite of the cherry following the failure of representations to persuade us on earlier occasions.

It is for us to judge what should be regarded as a 'reasonable interval' in these circumstances. However, the Secretary of State (in guidance to licensing authorities) suggests that more than one review from an interested party should not be permitted within a period of 12 months on similar grounds, save in compelling circumstances (for example, where new problems have arisen) or where it arises following a closure order.

Applicants calling for a review cannot apply for a review anonymously - even if somebody else (for example,  a local MP or councillor) is applying for a review on their behalf. If applicants are concerned about possible intimidation, they could consider asking the police, or another appropriate responsible authority to apply for a review on their behalf. 

Before applying for a review, applicants may want to consider whether their concern(s) could be effectively dealt with outside of the formal review process. This could involve, for example:

  • Talking to the licence or certificate holder to determine whether there are any steps they may be willing to take to rectify the situation
  • Asking us to talk to the licensee on your behalf
  • Asking your local MP or councillor to speak to the licence or certificate holder on your behalf
  • Talking to the relevant responsible authority (for example, environmental health in relation to noise nuisance, or the police in relation to crime and disorder) to determine whether there is other legislation that could help resolve the issue 

Things you may want to consider when seeking a review:

  • It may be helpful to get the backing of other people living, or businesses operating in the vicinity of the premises, or other responsible authorities
  • Look at our official records about the premises kept in the licensing register. This will show you if other people have made representations or asked for a review of a premises in the past
  • If you are thinking of raising a petition, it is important to include names and addresses and indicate clearly on what grounds a review is being applied for. It would also help if a spokesperson could volunteer to receive details about the hearings from us and may be willing to speak on behalf of the petitioners at the hearing.
  • If you want to ask another person such as an MP or local councillor to represent you at the review, it is advisable to make such a request in writing so that the individual can demonstrate he or she was asked.  It will be a matter for the MP or councillor to decide whether they should agree to your request. They are not obliged to do so, however, most elected representatives are happy to help residents with this sort of issue, and there is no requirement for them to live in the vicinity of the premises in question for them to be able to make representations on behalf of residents that do. It should be noted that councillors who are part of the licensing committee hearing the application will not be able to discuss the application with you outside the formal hearing, so it is suggested that you do not approach them to try to.
  • For individual incidents, try to get as much information as possible about any official response (for example, police being called out).
  • You may also be able to back up your application with data such as crime statistics. However, it should be noted that conditions attached to licences cannot seek to manage the behaviour of customers once they are beyond the direct management of the licence holder and his/her staff or agents, but they can seek to control the behaviour of customers on the premises or in the immediate vicinity of the premises as they seek to enter or leave.
  • If there is general noise nuisance on streets because of licensed premises, you will probably need to show how it relates to the specific premises.
  • It is important to be able to back up your claims. You could do this by keeping a diary over a period of time, for example. Sound or video recordings may also be helpful. It may also be a while before any hearing, so it is good to keep a clear record.
  • Residents or businesses applying for a review following a particular incident should be cautious, as a licensee may argue that this was a one off problem that can be rectified without a review.  
  • Have a good idea how you’d like the situation to be resolved.