“Careering out of Control”: Decision-Making in Contested Cases under the Licensing Act 2003
journal contributionposted on 16.01.2012, 13:58 by Steven Cammiss, Colin Manchester
Local authority sub-committees, when hearing and determining licence applications, have traditionally followed court-like procedures and have been regarded as acting quasi-judicially. The Licensing Act 2003 introduced important changes in the licensing of alcohol, entertainment and late night refreshment, one of which was that licensing hearings would be “discussion led” by sub-committees and it was not envisaged by the Government that sub-committees would perform a quasi-judicial role. This article, based on empirical research conducted primarily in one licensing authority area (with supplementary material from a second licensing authority area), considers how authorities have embraced the new decision-making framework under the 2003 Act. It looks at decision-making in hearings in contested cases and examines, in particular, the extent to which sub-committees have departed from their traditionally adopted court-like format.