Licence review

The Licensing Act 2003 provides a mechanism for a “responsible authority” or any other person, business or body to ask for Premises Licences or Club Premises Certificates to be reviewed.

Before requesting a review, it is considered appropriate that the above should give licence holders sufficient warning of any concerns that they may have with regard to problems identified at the premises and the need for improvement. We would expect licence holders to respond to such warnings and implement the necessary remedial action. A failure to respond to such warnings could then lead to a decision by the above to request a review of the Licence/Certificate.

There are currently no reviews pending. 

The review is a request for us to look at the existing Licence/Certificate and decide whether its conditions are adequate to meet the four licensing objectives defined under the Act. 

This mechanism is in place as any Licence/Certificate issued under the Act (unless the applicant requests otherwise) will last for the lifetime of the business and would not otherwise be subject to renewal.

Advice received from the Government states that “save in very exceptional circumstances, licensing reviews applied for immediately after a licence or certificate has been granted are likely to be considered vexatious and it is also doubtful that they could be argued successfully to be “relevant” (if the premises has hardly been in operation under the licence). For a review application to be successful, there would need to have been some form of problem in connection with one or more of the licensing objectives that has arisen since the licence or certificate was granted and given effect. We would therefore suggest that there would need to be some period of operation before a viable review might be sought”

You can only seek a review if:

  • Your request relates to the failure of the business to address one or more of the four licensing objectives;
  • Your request is not frivolous, repetitious or vexatious.


A frivolous complaint is one so trivial it would be unreasonable to consider it.

For example, a pub may have run without any problems for ten years, but on New Years Eve have a noisy party ending at 1.00am. No other noise has occurred before, or since, that time. We would probably consider a request for a review to be frivolous on this occasion, as it concerned a one off event on a night of the year when it would be normal to expect a certain degree of noise nuisance.


A complaint is vexatious if it is not genuine and is made as a result of a dispute between neighbouring residents and businesses. Council officers will make their own observations to establish whether complaints are being made for vexatious reasons.


A complaint is defined as repetitious under the Act if:

It is identical, or substantially similar to:

  • A ground for review that has already been considered by us; or 
  • A representation made by a responsible authority or any person, business or body to the grant of a Premise Licence or Club Premise Certificate; or 
  • A representation about a provisional statement which was excluded; and
  • A reasonable interval has not elapsed since that earlier time.

We will decide what a “reasonable interval” is, depending on the circumstances of the case.

However, Government guidance says the minimum period between reviews should be at least twelve months in any case, unless there are particularly compelling circumstances.

An application form for the review of a Premises Licence or Club Premises Certificate can be downloaded free from the Sefton Council Website.

Complete the form carefully, providing as much detail as possible to support your application.

Send the original to us and send a copy of it to:

  • The premises licence holder or the club.
  • Each of the responsible authorities

You should also keep a copy for your records


This is forbidden under the Act.

We will consider the application; in respect of any person, business or body not a responsible authority, if the grounds for review are considered frivolous, vexatious or repetitious, or have already been considered we can refuse to review the Licence/Certificate.

If we decide to reject your application for review, we will write to you and explain our decision and our reasons for it. If you are unhappy with a decision you may apply to the High Court for a judicial review of our decision.

We will arrange to advertise that the Licence/Certificate is to be reviewed (both on the premises, at Southport and Bootle Town Hall and on the website); other persons, businesses or bodies and responsible authorities will then have 28 days to make any representations.

At the end of that period, within 20 working days, a hearing is held before a licensing sub-committee to consider any representations. You, the licence holder(s) and any other people making representations will be invited to attend.

At the Hearing you will only be allowed to comment on the matters raised in your request for a review, or to amplify them. You will not be permitted to bring extra evidence to the meeting, or raise any other issues other than those referred to you in your application.


  • Modify the conditions of the licence
  • Exclude a licensable activity from the scope of the licence
  • Remove the designated premises supervisor
  • Suspend the licence for a period not exceeding three months 
  • Revoke the licence
  • Any or none of the above


  • Modify the conditions of the certificate 
  • Exclude a qualifying club activity from the scope of the certificate 
  • Suspend the certificate for a period not exceeding three months
  • Withdraw the certificate 
  • Any or none of the above

Decisions made by the sub-committee can be appealed against.

Any decision taken at the hearing will not take effect until the period within which an appeal can be brought has passed (21 days), or until the determination of such an appeal




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