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Manchester on Alcohol & Entertainment Law

Wine 26118355 s 146x219Professor Roy Light reviews the 4th edition of Manchester on Alcohol and Entertainment Law. Woods Whur Publishing, Leeds. £115 soft cover.

The first edition of this book, then titled Alcohol & Entertainment Licensing Law, appeared in 2005. It quickly established itself as the best of the new volumes that accompanied the coming into force of the Licensing Act in 2005. It was a masterpiece of exposition, elucidation and analysis presented in an accessible, manageable, well-priced volume. The second edition built on the success of the first and appeared in 2008. This is not surprising as Colin Manchester’s academic skills worked well with the extensive practical experience provided by his co-authors Susanna Poppleston and Jeremy Allen of licensing firm Poppleston Allen. Jeremy Allen sadly died in 2011. Susanna Poppleston recently retired from practice.

Colin Manchester, formerly professor of licensing at first Birmingham and then Warwick University, now retired from academia, continues his work in licensing as a consultant with Woods Whur solicitors who published the third edition in 2012 and this latest edition some five years later; both under the title Manchester on Alcohol & Entertainment Licensing Law.

As with most books each edition is bigger than the last. The latest runs to close on 1,000 pages plus a near 400-page volume of Appendices. Bearing in mind the many significant developments in licensing law since the last edition and legislation such as the Deregulation Act and Immigration Act the author is to be congratulated on keeping the book within reasonable size while providing comprehensive coverage.

The layout follows that of the previous edition which is comforting for those used to that volume. It remains accessible and easy to read and navigate. There are two main changes. First, the introductory chapter has been revised to chart the outline history of the licensing regime. This will be of interest to all and particularly useful to those new to licensing who require an introductory overview. Secondly, there is now a separate volume containing legislation, circulars and guidance. This works very well as the contents of the appendices can be accessed on line so it will not be necessary carry both volumes around. Also, separate volumes allows easier matching of text to sources for the reader wishing to have the source material open at the appropriate page while reading the text of the main volume.

As with previous editions this is an admirable, scholarly work that combines keen academic rigor with penetrating practical analysis and insight. A major strength is the way in which the volume facilitates quick and easy access to material necessary to address a particular legal issue. The contents pages and index work well in this respect. The book offers a balanced view of contentious issues, carefully weighing and assessing competing viewpoints. But not content to ‘sit on the fence’ the author offers his view of the law even if I have not always been sure on which side of the fence I should fall.

Produced by Woods Whur Publishing Ltd, Leeds (ISBN 978-0-9572677-1-8) it is at £115 excellent value and an essential tool for anybody involved in alcohol and entertainment licensing law. Highly recommended.

Professor Roy Light is a barrister at St John's Chambers, Bristol.


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