Whether you are a restaurant owner, hotelier, publican, registered club or bookmaker, our dedicated Licensing team is well versed in all issues relating to the licensed trade sector. The team has a detailed knowledge of the licensing legislation and application process which is significantly different from the regulation in Great Britain. We are well placed to provide an all round service to the licensed trade with property and corporate experience – particularly for businesses interested in establishing in Northern Ireland.

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Areas of Expertise

Our breadth of experience enables us to advise both those entering the licensing trade for the first time and those with several licensed premises, on the basic requirements and the intrinsic licensing provisions in Northern Ireland. We provide a full range of services from the due diligence at the pre contract and contractual stage of transactions, to pre application consultation with architects over the licensing drawings requirements right through to final grant. We regularly advise on the following:

  • Magistrate’s Court applications including occasional licences, protection orders and transfers, renewals including contested renewals out of time
  • Provisional and final grant applications for all types of licensed premises including restaurants, hotels, off licences and public houses
  • Applications to amend, modify and/or extend licensed premises
  • The more unusual variety of conference centre licences and can guide clients through what can be a complex process
  • Exemptions under the licensing legislation
  • Advice and guidance on the entertainments licensing regime
  • Licensing implications of restructuring title to premises and/or company structure
  • Advising insolvency practitioners on licensing implications in bankruptcy and insolvency situations
  • Advising on requirements and challenges of bookmaker’s office licence and bookmaker’s licence

Why Us?

The Licensing Team is headed up by member of the Institute of Licensing, Karen Blair, who is quoted in Chambers 2014 as “very inspiring” and that she “communicates well with people at any level.” The licensing team is ranked as a top Northern Ireland licensing law firms in Chambers 2014.

Notable Cases

  • We acted in the multi million pound development of the Titanic Belfast conference centre at Titanic Quarter
  • We acted in the multi million pound development of the conference centre at The MAC in the Cathedral Quarter
  • We acted for Prezzo plc in relation to the opening of its Italian restaurant at Victoria Square, Belfast which was its first time entering the Northern Ireland market
  • We act for Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Limited in relation to their portfolio of Northern Ireland stores, which has included most recently the roll out of the grocery online services in NorthernIreland
  • Advising and acting on behalf of Home Bargains in respect of its first mixed retail store to obtain an off sales licence in Mid Ulster
  • Providing strategic advices to an operator regarding bookmaker’s premises
  • Advising a local district council in respect of its role and responsibilities under the entertainments licensing system including advice on interpretation of the local government legislation
  • Advising a third level education establishment in respect of challenging a neighbouring gaming centre, including objecting to its amusement permit and entertainment licence