Posted: Thursday, 21 April 2016 @ 12:10
The High Court has recently upheld a Licensing Authority decision to revoke a Premises Licence where the owner had knowingly employed an illegal immigrant.
A restaurant and takeway owner had employed a chef who did not have a right to work in the UK. He was paid cash in hand, below the minimum wage, and the owner did not account to HMRC for PAYE.
The owner was not prosecuted for the offence, but was given a civil penalty. He argued unsuccessfully before the High Court that as he had not been convicted of a criminal offence, his licence should not have been revoked.
The High Court confirmed that the Licensing Authority had the right to initiate a review of the Premises Licence under Section 51 of the Licensing Act 2003 as it was a "responsible authority" as defined by the act, and that its representations were "relevant representations" as they related to the licensing objective of the prevention of crime and disorder.
It did not matter that the owner had not been prosecuted and convicted of an offence. The duty of the Licensing Authority was to take such steps as it considered necessary for the promotion of the licensing objectives. Clearly it took the view that the crime and disorder objective was likely to be undermined if steps were not taken. The steps available on review are one or more of the following, namely to modify the conditions of the licence, exclude a licensing activity, remove the designated premises supervisor, or suspend the licence for up to 3 months. But the final step is to revoke the licence completely. That is what the Licensing Authority considered appropriate in the circumstances of that case, and the High Court agreed.
So the warning signal is clear. If you have a Premises Licence and employ illegal immigrants there is a high risk that your Premises Licence will be revoked.
Blog by Nigel Musgrove
Nigel has been providing dispute resolution advice as a solicitor for over 35 years. As well as advising SMEs and business owners on disputes he also offers a specialist licensing law service. View profile
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