Thompson v Oxford City Council (revisited)

Some interesting thoughts on the Lodge’s failed judicial review have been published here:

http://www.bllaw.co.uk/services_for_businesses/licensing_and_alcohol/news_and_updates/club_judicial_review_claim.aspx

This notes the following:

“Despite the fact that Mr Thompson had been granted a licence, and that the premises were in exactly the same place as the year before, with no one having complained about his operation of the premises, he had been deprived of the licence to operate. He argued he had spent tens of thousands of pounds on a business and provided considerable local employment into the bargain, on the back of his licence which was granted to him but which had now been taken away from him through no obvious fault of his own.”

And goes onto to suggest the unreasonable nature of the decision taken, given it fails to recognise the property rights bequeathed by licence approval:

“The argument that a premises licence is an item of property that attracts property rights under international and domestic human rights law does not seem to have been argued fully before the High Court. However in his evidence before the Sub Committee Mr Thompson pointed out that he had invested tens of thousands of pounds in good faith on the strength of his being granted a licence (as our own client had done) only to see the rules change and him having to surrender that licence despite the fact that the premises had been operating perfectly happily and no one ever having complained about the running of the venue.

We cannot imagine that the public at large would consider it could be right to permit a business to operate under licence so that they invest in their business only to change the rules and require them to have to get another licence every year. Guidance issued by the Secretary of State accepts that it is improper for Council’s to grant licences, then adopt a Cumulative Impact Policy and then seek to curtail the hours of operation etc of premises under those licences by means of a premises licence review. The analogy with the present case is clear.

It must be right that a person who is granted a licence to carry on an activity at premises must be allowed to continue with that activity until such time as there is sufficient complaint about the use of those premises for that activity. That did not happen in Salisbury and it did not happen in Oxford, yet Mr Thompson is now deprived of his licence.”

As the author of this piece, a licensing solicitor for Blake Lapthorn, notes, this one could still run and run given there is a possible appeal of the rejection for judicial review. Watch this space.

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2 thoughts on “Thompson v Oxford City Council (revisited)

  1. I think the issue with this is that the club moved in 2011 to the current location because the council had issues with the last location. As far as I can tell there were no issues with crime so just the suggestion that the council would reject a license renewal. So rather than get into a messy court case the club moves to Oxpens where the council grants a license. And yet the start of the plans for the redevelopment of Oxpens has to have been back in 2011 and the club was not informed. Looks like a deliberately formulated plan to close the club as the leader of the council made it clear in 2010 he intended to have no clubs in Oxford. Just my thought and obviously the club would have more of a clue what the council said back in 2011.

  2. Pingback: Clear Injustice…Lawyers comment on Oxford Council closing down a table dancing business even though the licensee did not break any rules | Melon Farmers Blog

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