Premises licence appeal success despite immigration offences

October 30, 2017

Stuart Jessop successfully represented the premises licence holder of a fast food establishment in the London Borough of Havering in his appeal against the decision of the Licensing Sub-Committee to revoke his licence after a review brought under the Prevention of Crime Objective. The decision had focused on an incident where an illegal immigrant had been found to have been employed at the premises.

The premises had been subject to two visits by immigration officers and on both occasions an illegal immigrant was found on the premises. On the second occasion the Appellant had received a civil penalty for employing the male concerned. There were also allegations that the premises attracted gangs and was not promoting the Licensing Objectives.

However, the Appellant argued that he was away on both occasions and had relied on managers, that there was no evidence that the first male was employed at the premises and that since the incidents he had transformed the business’s procedures and systems. The Court held that the owner had placed reliance on the manager at a time when he had to leave the country in a hurry due to a relative being very ill and that he had significantly improved the systems at the premises. They concluded that as the legislation was forward-looking rather than punitive they were of the view that the decision was wrong, even if it wasn’t wrong at the time.

This case shows that in the right factual circumstances it is still possible to argue that, despite the case of East Lindsey DC v Hanif ( t/a Zaraf Restaurant and Takeaway) [2016] EWHC 1265, revocation is not always the most proportionate or appropriate course in situations where there has been immigration offences associated with a particular licensed premises.