Premises Licence Review
Under section 36 of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 any person can apply to the Board for review of a premises licence.
Please note that all the Licensing web pages are intended to guide you through licensing processes and they are not intended to summarise relatively complex areas of the law.
Review of a premises licence is a formal legal process that requires the time and involvement of the person who has applied for review and the licence holder. Any person considering applying for review of a premises licence is encouraged to read all of the information contained on this page before making an application.
An application for review can only be made on prescribed legal grounds, these are:
- that, having regard to the licensing objectives below or the licence holder is not a fit and proper person to be the holder of a premises licence
- that one or more of the conditions to which the premises licence is subject has been breached; and/ or
- any other ground relevant to one or more of the licensing objectives,
these objectives are:
- preventing crime and disorder
- securing public safety
- preventing public nuisance
- protecting and improving public health
- protecting children and young persons from harm
You can find further information regarding how to make an application for review and the review process below.
Please note that it is not necessary to make an application for review to raise concerns you have regarding the operation of licensed premises. Before considering applying to the Board for review of a premises licence you should raise any such concerns you have by email with either the council's Licensing Standards Officer or Police Scotland Licensing or call the Police on 101.
More information on reviews is contained in section 5 of the.
Review proceedings can have serious consequences for both premises and personal licence holders in respect of their licences if grounds for review are established. The Board would recommend that any licence holder whose licence is subject to review obtains legal advice on the matter.
Any person can make an application to the Board for review of a premises licence. You can only make an application if you consider that one or more of the grounds stated above apply.
The Board can also decide itself to review a premises licence and a Licensing Standards Officer can make an application for review of a premises licence if they have issued a notice to a licence holder identifying that a condition of the licence is not being complied with and the licence holder has failed to comply with that notice within a specified timescale.
An application for a review of a premises licence must identify the grounds for review.
There is no prescribed form for a review application, however the Board has a template for review applications which you can access. The Board would encourage any person considering applying for review to use this template and to carefully consider the guidance notes that are included in the template before submitting their application.
There is no fee for a review application.
The Board would encourage any person considering making a review application to email their concerns about the premises first to the council's Licensing Standards Officer and local Police Scotland Licensing Officer Police Scotland Licensing Officer or by calling Police Scotland on 101.
The Clerk to the Board will consider the application.
If the Clerk is satisfied that the application is competent, a date will be scheduled for the application to be considered at a Board meeting. The Board will also send a copy of the application to the council's Licensing Standards Officer who, by law, must prepare and submit a report on the application prior to the hearing.
If the Clerk believes that an application is frivolous or vexatious or does not disclose any matter relevant to the prescribed grounds for review, the application will be referred to the Convener of the Board who, under the legislation and the Board's scheme of delegation, may reject the application on either of these grounds.
Applicants will be notified in writing of the date and time of the meeting at which the application will call before the Board. Applicants are expected to attend the meeting in order to answer any questions that the Board may have in relation to the application or to provide the Board with further information about the application.
The application is copied to the premises licence holder and they will be given the opportunity to answer the application and may ask the applicant questions relating to the application.
The council's Licensing Standards Officer is available to provide guidance to applicants regarding the procedure followed at review hearings.
If any of the information contained in a review application is disputed by the licence holder, the Board may decide that an evidential hearing is required. Please see below for further information regarding this.
When a review application first calls before the Board the licence holder will be invited to confirm whether they accept or deny what is contained in the application. If information contained in the application is denied, the Board may decide that it is necessary to hold an evidential hearing. An evidential hearing is a hearing at which the Board will invite the applicant and licence holder to provide witness evidence and/ or written evidence to the Board.
If the Board decides that an evidential hearing is required, this will be explained to the parties and the Board will inform the parties of any steps it requires them to take to prepare for the evidential hearing.
The Board's policy statement includes the following: "it is of the utmost importance that parties are fully equipped and prepared, both evidentially and legally, to present their case." The Board considers that this applies to both licence holders and persons who have applied for review.
The Board has procedural rules that apply to evidential hearings, a copy of these can be accessed
At a review the Board can take any of a number of prescribed steps in relation to a premises licence, these are:
- to issue a written warning to the licence holder
- to make a variation of the licence (change a detail it contains)
- to suspend the licence for such period as the Board may determine; or
- to revoke the licence
The Board can only take any of these steps if it is satisfied that a ground of review is established and that it is necessary or appropriate to take any of the steps referred to above for the purposes of any of the licensing objectives.
However if at a review hearing the Board are satisfied that the licence holder is not a fit and proper person to be the holder of a premises licence they must revoke the licence. Where this power is exercised by the Board the revocation will take effect 28 days later unless the Board receives a competent application to transfer the licence or variation application that removes the ground(s) on which the licence was revoked.
Premises managers must be the holder of a personal licence. In addition other members of staff may also hold these licences.
As part of the review process the Board can consider taking action in relation to a personal licence if, in the course of a review hearing, it finds that the licence holder has, while working on the premises, acted in a manner inconsistent with one or more of the licensing objectives.
In view of this any personal licence holder who has been working on the premises may be present at a review hearing and will also be given the opportunity to ask and answer questions about the matters raised in the application for review and their work at the premises concerned.
If you have applied for review of a premises licence, you will be given notice of the Board's decision.
Please note that the notice given will only confirm what decision the Board has made. If you have applied for review of a premises licence and the Board has decided either to take a step in relation to the premises licence or not to take any such step, by law you can request a statement of reasons for the Board's decision. Any such request should be made in writing by email or letter to the Clerk to the Board as soon as possible following receipt of notice of the Board's decision. By law the licence holder can also request a statement of reasons in respect of any step taken by the Board in respect of their premises licence.
By law either a person who has applied for review of a premises licence or the licence holder can appeal to the Sheriff Principal against a decision by the Board to take or not take a step in relation to a premises licence at a review hearing.
There are a number of prescribed grounds for appeal, these are that the Board has:
- erred in law
- based its decision on an incorrect material fact
- acted contrary to natural justice
- exercised its decision in an unreasonable manner; or
- taken a step that is disproportionate in all the circumstances
The Board encourages any party considering appealing against a Board decision to take legal advice without delay. By law any appeal requires to be lodged at Livingston Sheriff Court Scot Courts not later than 21 days after the date of the Board's decision.
If the Board takes any decision in respect of a personal licence as part of a review hearing, by law only the personal licence holder can appeal against this to the sheriff. Any appeal requires to be lodged at Livingston Sheriff Court not later than 21 days after the date of the Board's decision. Any personal licence holder considering appealing against a Board decision is encouraged to take legal advice without delay.