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Changes to Summary Reviews, particularly in relation to interim steps
For some time, following Summary Review proceedings, there has been a lack of clarity and much argument in respect of whether, in the event that there is an appeal of a committee decision from a final review hearing, any interim steps which were imposed continue to have effect or whether they cease to have effect until the appeal has been disposed of.
The changes which come into effect on 6th April will: clarify that the Licensing Authority can review and amend interim steps; make it clear that interim steps do continue to take effect (unless amended or removed by the Licensing Authority) until the final determination of the review or the appeal decision takes effect; and, provide an expedited appeal process against interim steps.
Following the changes, Premises Licence Holders will have an opportunity to make representations against any interim steps which are imposed (on 48 hours notice) unless there is a material change in circumstances. It is worthy of note that “material change in circumstances” has not been defined.
The Licensing Authority will then be obliged to consider any interim steps which have been imposed at the full review hearing, and decide whether to amend or remove them. This will be sensible in some circumstances we have previously encountered, for example, if a premises licence was suspended as an interim step, but at the full review hearing the decision was to go no further than to impose additional conditions. The Premises Licence Holder would then argue for the suspension element to be lifted so that if they decided to appeal one or more of the additional conditions, the suspension element would not stay in place until the appeal was determined.
Any interim steps will then apply either until an appeal is determined, or until the period during which an appeal can be launched has lapsed, although the Licensing Authority is at liberty to prescribe a shorter period for the interim steps.
There will also be an expedited appeal against interim steps to the Magistrates’ Court, who will be obliged to hear the appeal against the interim steps within 28 days.