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High Court rejects challenge to implementation of Late Night Levy

The High Court has refused to grant a pub chain permission to bring a judicial review challenge to the decision of Liverpool City Council to introduce a late night levy.

The claimant, Pub Invest Group Limited, had advanced six grounds. These included:

  • a challenge to the quality of local consultation on the proposal, which had been conducted both electronically and at street level;
  • a complaint that while the council's licensing and gambling sub-committee had not supported adoption, the full council had taken the opposite decision, and a criticism that the ultimate vote had been whipped along party lines;
  • an attack on the date of implementation of the levy, which was later than the date consulted upon for implementation.

His Honour Judge Platts thought the consultation adequate, found that the consultation responses had been properly taken into account, and pointed out that the decision was for the full council which was entitled to take a different view from a subordinate committee.

The judge also found no basis for the allegation that a decision reached at a full council meeting following a whip is unlawful or irrational.

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He also rejected the challenge based on the date of implementation, which had aroused little comment during the consultation.

Philip Kolvin QC of Cornerstone Barristers acted for Liverpool, instructed by Robin Thomaides.

Costs were ordered in favour of the council.

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