A local authority has seen its decision to revoke a restaurant’s Premises Licence challenged in the High Court.
East Lindsey District Council decided to revoke the Premises Licence at Zara’s Restaurant after it was discovered that the restaurant was employing an illegal worker.
Following a raid by immigration authorities at the restaurant, the Police instigated review proceedings and sought the revocation of the Premises Licence. The Licence itself was duly revoked at the subsequent review hearing.
The Home Office Guidance issued pursuant to s.182 of the Licensing Act 2003 states that,
where premises are found to be trading irresponsibly, the licensing authority should not hesitate, where appropriate to do so, to take tough action to tackle the problems at the premises and, where other measures are deemed insufficient, to revoke the licence.
Furthermore the Guidance states,
There is certain criminal activity that may arise in connection with licensed premises which should be treated particularly seriously. These are the use of the licensed premises […] for knowingly employing a person who is unlawfully in the UK or who cannot lawfully be employed as a result of a condition on that person’s leave to enter.
Mr Hanif, the Premises Licence Holder at Zara’s, successfully appealed before a district judge, arguing that he had been subject to a civil penalty, not a criminal one, under s.15 of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 and that as a result the licensing objective of the ‘Prevention of Crime and Disorder’ had not actually been engaged.
East Lindsey Council subsequently appealed to the High Court and argued that it was not necessary, in the case of a review of a Premises Licence, for the crime itself to have been:
reported, prosecuted or established in a court of law.
The licensing objectives were not strictly retrospective, but rather prospective in that they are concerned with the prevention of crime and disorder in the future.
The decision of East Lindsey District Council to revoke the licence was upheld by the High Court.
The High Court Judge ordered that Mr Hanif was to pay costs totalling £19,000.00.
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