in the Licensing Act 2003, and that the personality of the licensee was of at most limited relevance; ● Because there are wider interests that simply those of the parties engaged in the outcome of licensing decisions, and accordingly all information, including the cases for both parties, should be properly considered before reaching a decision. Hackney resisted the claim. The High Court agreed and robustly refused permission. The correct position in law is as follows. The law Section 181 of the 2003 Act provides for appeals against decisions of licensing authorities. Paragraph 9 of Schedule 5 makes general provision about appeals under that part and provides, in so far as relevant, as follows: (1) An appeal under this part must be made to a magistrates' court. (2) An appeal under this part must be commenced by notice of appeal given by the Appellant to the designated officer for the magistrates' court within the period of 21 days beginning with the day on which the Appellant was notified by the licensing authority of the decision appealed against. Per Beatson LJ in R (Essence Bars (London) Ltd) t/a Essence v Wimbledon Magistrates' Court [2016] EWCA Civ 63: '[13] Appeals brought under the Licensing Act 2003 are dealt with pursuant to sections 51-75 of the 1980 Act [Magistrates' Courts Act 1980] which concern "civil jurisdiction and procedure".' Per Toulson LJ in R (Hope & Glory Public House Ltd) v City of Westminster Magistrates' Court [2011] EWCA Civ 31): there is no basis for disapplying the Magistrates' Courts Rules 1981, in particular r.14 on the order of speeches to licensing appeals. The Magistrates' Courts Rules 1981 ['MCR'] provide as follows: Appeal to be by complaint 34. Where under any enactment an appeal lies to a magistrates' court against the decision or order of a local authority or other authority, or other body or person, the appeal shall be by way of complaint for an order. The civil jurisdiction of the magistrates' court is extremely broad. It encompasses not only such appeals as fall within r.34 of the MCR, but also a very wide range of applications pursuant to other legislation, all of which are commenced by way of complaint. A magistrates' court determining a complaint has the power to dismiss the case once (but not before) all the complainant's evidence has been heard: Mayes v Mayes [1971] 2 All ER 397; Simmons v London Borough of Croydon [1985] FLR 1092, either on its own motion or on the application of the respondent, provided always that the complainant is given the opportunity to address the court before it reaches a conclusion. Conclusions The case confirms an obvious aspect of the relevant and applicable procedure in licensing appeals. It was a novel - and perhaps unique - approach by the District Judge in such cases. But there is no reason why the power should not be exercised more regularly, either on application or on the court's own motion. Sarah Le Fevre is a barrister at Three Raymond Buildings Insight Local Government Lawyer Insight February 2018 35