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Licensing service updates

Remote Licensing Board Hearings

Guidance on remote hearings under the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005

Introduction

In light of the current situation surrounding Covid-19 and while physical distancing restrictions are in force the licensing board cannot meet in their usual format. Therefore arrangements have been made for alternative means of facilitating meetings of the board via video link, telephone or other means of instant multi-party electronic communications i.e. written representations. This guidance has been prepared for parties participating in remote hearings conducted by North Lanarkshire Licensing Board. The guidance on remote hearings procedure will apply to the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005.

The guidance sets out the procedure which will be followed by the board to ensure it complies with the associated legislation, both prior to and at a hearing before the board. The guidance also provides information on the process after a hearing confirming the rights of parties to written statements of reasons for the board’s decisions and details of how you can appeal a board decision.

The board seeks to ensure each party at a hearing is treated both fairly and equally. Please contact LicensingBoard@northlan.gov.uk if you have a particular access requirement.

Procedure Prior to the Hearing

At least 7 days prior to the hearing:

  1. All parties will receive notice by email of the date and time of the hearing; parties are asked to check their junk folder to ensure that the email has not been sent there.
  2. All parties will receive an email with copies of all relevant papers.

At least 2 days prior to the hearing:

  1. You should email a copy of any documents you intend to rely on to LicensingBoard@northlan.gov.uk using your name and date of hearing for the subject heading. Please note that if you attend the hearing and intend to rely on documents not previously circulated to the other parties prior to the hearing they may not be considered by the board.

Attendance at the Hearing

  1. All parties entitled to be heard will be invited to attend the meeting to address the board and/or have a representative attend to address the board on their behalf. If a party does not wish to appear or be represented at the hearing, they can submit written representations. If a party wishes their hearing to proceed this way, they should understand they will not have the ability to ask questions of the board or be able to answer any questions the board may have on what they have submitted. 
  2. Any person may be nominated to act as a party’s representative, however, the board has the right to decide not to hear from a person who claims to represent a party if the board is not satisfied that the person has written authority from that party.
  3. Persons who have submitted late objections or representations are also invited to attend the hearing but are advised that the board may decline to consider their objection or representation unless, at the start of the hearing, they first satisfy the board that there is good reason for the objection or representation having been lodged late.
  4. Even if no objections or representations have been lodged the licensing board may be required in terms of the legislation to convene a remote hearing.
  5. If a party is unable to attend on the date proposed, they may submit a request by email for postponement to the clerk in advance of the hearing or at the hearing itself setting out their reasons for the request. A party can also request a postponement on the day of the hearing. The board will consider any requests for a postponement and if it considers it in the interests of justice will grant the postponement provided the relevant statutory deadline for holding the hearing can still be met. Requests for a postponement should be emailed to LicensingBoard@Northlan.gov.uk.

Procedure to be followed at remote hearing for licence applications

  1. At the start of the hearing, the clerk of the board will identify which parties are present and/or represented. If any party is not present or represented and has not made a request for a postponement, and if the board is satisfied that invitation to the hearing was issued, the hearing may proceed in the absence of that party. Any timeous written representations previously made by the absent party will, however, still be considered by the board.
  2. Prior to the commencement of the remote hearing the clerk will advise the board if there are any preliminary proceedings to be dealt with e.g. late letters of representation, objections or any competency issues.
  3. The order in which parties will usually be invited to speak is as follows (please note that the convener of the board has discretion to depart from it if he or she considers it necessary to do so in the interest of fairness):
  • The applicant or his/her representative is invited to put his/her case to the board in support of the application and to address the points raised in any letters of representation or objection which the board will be considering.
  • Parties present who have submitted representations or objections are given the opportunity to address the board regarding their concerns.
  • The board members are given the opportunity to ask the applicant and objector relevant questions.
  • Both parties are then afforded the opportunity to sum up their position.
  • The board members commence their deliberation in private and then make their decision.
  • ​​​​​​​The board members will formally vote in the presence of all parties when they reconvene.
  • The board can either refuse or grant a licence and when granting a licence the board may impose conditions in addition to any mandatory conditions to which the licence is subject.

Procedure to be followed at remote hearing for review of licences

A review hearing means any type of hearing in relation to an existing licence (be it a premises or a personal licence) which has been triggered, in respect of Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005, by a competent review proposal or application, a relevant police notice, a notice received from another licensing board or a finding made by the North Lanarkshire Licensing Board at a premises licence review hearing.

Procedure:

  1. ​​​​​​​The clerk of the board introduces the agenda item and identifies who is present for the hearing and who intends to speak and whether there are preliminary matters to be dealt with as noted at 2 above.
  2. The order in which parties will usually be invited to speak is as follows (please note that the convener of the board has discretion to depart from it if he or she considers it necessary to do so in the interest of fairness):
  • Where the review applicant is effectively the board they present their case. Where the complainer is effectively the board (e.g. in reviews triggered by the licensing board itself), the convener or clerk of the board will explain the grounds for review and the evidential basis for those grounds, details of which will already have been sent to the licence holder. Where the complainer is someone other than the board will be given the opportunity to present their position.
  • ​​​​​​​The licence holder then presents their submissions in response.
  • ​​​​​​​The board members are then given the opportunity to ask the licence holder and the complainer questions.
  • ​​​​​​​Each party is then given the opportunity to sum up, with the licence holder having the right to sum up last.
  • ​​​​​​​The board members commence their deliberation in private and then make their decision.
  • ​​​​​​​The board members will formally vote in the presence of all parties when they reconvene.
  • ​​​​​​​If the grounds for review are upheld in whole or in part by the board members both the review applicant and the licence holder or his representative address the board members in relation to sanctions.
  • ​​​​​​​After the board has heard from the parties in relation to sanctions that may be imposed by them they can issue a written warning, vary, suspend or revoke the licence.

Procedure After the Hearing

After the hearing, a notice of determination setting out the board’s decision will be sent to all parties entitled under the act to receive such a notice. A party is entitled to request a written statement of the board’s reasons for its decision.

If you wish to appeal a decision of the licensing board then you can lodge an appeal with the relevant Sheriff Court via a Summary Application. An appeal must be lodged with the Sheriff Clerk no later than 21 days after either the board’s decision, or where a statement of reasons under section 51(2) has been requested, the date of issue of statement of reasons. We strongly recommend you obtain independent legal advice in relation to an appeal. We are unable to provide you with any legal advice concerning an appeal against a board decision.

General information in relation to the licensing board

  1. ​​​​​​​There are 10 councillors who sit on the board. The quorum for the meeting is 5 (but by virtue of Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 the current figure is 3), so not all board members need be present at every meeting. If any member present has a declarable interest in any particular item on the agenda, they will recuse themselves and he/she will take no part in the consideration of that item.
  2. ​​​​​​​In addition to the board members at the hearing the clerk will be present to provide the board with advice on procedural and legal issues. Also present will be officers of the council, representatives from Police Scotland and applicants, objectors and licence holders, some of whom will have their legal representatives or other agents with them.
  3. ​​​​​​​The remote meeting board decisions are minuted.

Contact us

Legal and Democratic Solutions

Chief Executive’s Office

North Lanarkshire Council

Civic Centre

Windmillhill Street

Motherwell

ML1 1AB

Page last updated:
15 Apr 2021

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