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Duncan Craig

Practice Summary

Duncan Craig is Head of the Citadel Chambers Licensing team, having practised as a barrister in the field since 2013. He takes instructions anywhere in England & Wales and routinely conducts hearings up and down the country. He is also authorised by the Bar Council to conduct litigation.

Career Background

Prior to call to the Bar, Duncan had a twenty-year career in the licensed trade, including a ten-year period where he owned and operated various bars and restaurants in Nottingham, employing over 120 people. He is the only practising licensing lawyer with this level of trade experience.

Duncan lives and works in Birmingham, and since 2013 he has represented and advised many of the leading independent operators in the area. He takes instructions anywhere in England in Wales and routinely conducts hearings up and down the country. Over the course of the last seven years, Duncan has built his practice up from a standing start to become one of the busiest licensing lawyers in the country, usually having over twenty Licensing Act 2003 appeals ongoing at any one time, most of which he resolves to his clients’ satisfaction. During that period, Duncan has dealt with over 100 local authorities in England and Wales and has built up good working relationships with many of the key people within those councils during that time.

Practice details

He is approved by the Bar Council under the Public Access scheme, and in suitable cases welcomes instructions directly from members of the public, companies or trade organisations. Most of Duncan’s instructions come via this route. He is also authorised by the Bar Council to conduct litigation. Please see the Public Access section of this website, or contact Chambers clerks, for further information.

Duncan is frequently instructed by his licensing clients in relation to other legal problems and issues that they encounter. These can range from small-claims matters to hearings in the High Court.

Licensing Act 2003

Duncan has appeared before more than 100 local councils in licensing matters in various parts of the country, representing operators of licensed premises in relation to applications under the Licensing Act 2003. He has extensive experience in cases involving grant applications, applications to vary licences, reviews and expedited reviews, plus preliminary hearings and appeals in the Magistrates’ Courts. Duncan’s background means he is readily able to grasp the issues and devise workable solutions: if possible, his preparation for any hearing will include a visit to the premises.

 

Notable instructions in front of licensing sub-committees in the last two years have included:

2019

  • Application for grant of premises licence at West London late-night refreshment venue, following representations from various responsible authorities; application granted.
  • Represented Willesden pub in grant application hearing following representations from responsible authorities and residents; application granted.
  • Represented Oxfordshire event venue in application for the grant of premises licence following objections from local residents; application granted.
  • Represented off-licence within Wisbech CIA seeking extra hours; application granted.
  • Review application for nightclub in Birmingham due to allegations of sale of nitrous oxide at premises and loss of CCTV footage; licence preserved with conditions.
  • Grant application hearing for off-licence in Harrow with number of objections from responsible authorities; licence granted.
  • Grant application hearing for Caribbean restaurant in Smethwick with number of objections; licence granted.
  • Review application for Ealing off-licence were large quantity of illicit alcohol and tobacco discovered for second time; licence preserved with further conditions.
  • Review application for nightclub in Harrow in relation to public nuisance; licence preserved.
  • Review application for pub in Bognor Regis; licence preserved.
  • Review application for off-licence in Birmingham where illicit cigarettes and stolen goods discovered by officers in retail area of shop; licence preserved with suspension and further conditions.
  • Variation application hearing for bar within Chesterfield CIA following objections; variation granted.
  • Application for grant of Peterborough late night refreshment premises licence opposed by local resident; application granted.

2018

  • Variation application hearing seeking further hours for pub within Burton CIA; application granted.
  • Review application for Newcastle-under-Lyme off-licence following number of under-age sales and breaches to conditions of the licence; licence preserved.
  • Grant application hearing for restaurant in Merthyr Tydfil with over 40 objections from local residents and representations from responsible authorities; licence granted.
  • Review application for village pub in near Burton; licence preserved, no steps taken against the licence.
  • Grant application hearing for sports club in Birmingham with large number of objections from local residents; licence granted.
  • Grant application hearing for late night refreshment premises in North Shields with number of objections; licence granted.
  • Grant application hearing for Stratford-upon-Avon town centre premises where licence had recently been revoked with large number of objections from residents and responsible authorities; licence granted.
  • Review application in Brent where revocation sought by the Met; licence preserved with conditions.
  • Acted for Northamptonshire Brewer in relation to second drink drive conviction; personal licence not revoked.

Previous cases have included

  • Review application for Dudley convenience store where a sale to a minor had taken place; licence preserved with further conditions.
  • Acted for Burton pub where Staffordshire Police had objected to two TEN applications; following submissions, TEN objections were rejected on the basis of a failure by Staffordshire Police to comply with the legislative requirements.
  •  Review application hearing against Burton late night premises brought by Staffordshire Police; no steps taken against licence.
  • Acted for Enfield convenience store in relation to challenging surrender of licence; following written submissions to local authority, surrender of licence was withdrawn as a live issue.
  • Acted for Andover late night refreshment venue where Hampshire Police were objecting to removal of conditions; following discussions with police, agreement reached between parties before the hearing.
  • Acted for two members of the public in them bringing a review against a pub in Worcester on the grounds of crime and disorder; following hearing, DPS removed and further conditions were imposed on the licence.
  • Acted for pub in Builth Wells which had complaints relating to noise during the Royal Welsh Show; reached agreement with local residents and environmental health before hearing.
  • Acted for local residents seeking to curtail opening hours on new £1 million premises in Harrogate; following hearing, hours were curtailed, and conditions imposed on the licence.
  • Instructed by Grantham restaurant in review proceedings brought by Lincolnshire Police in relation to illegal immigrants working in the restaurant; review hearing resulted in preservation of the licence with no additional conditions.
  • Acted for Forest of Dean pub in review proceedings; no action taken against the premises at review hearing.
  • Represented a Stoke-on-Trent off-licence in shop where premises licence had recently been revoked for selling illicit alcohol; licence granted following hearing.

Licensing Act 2003 Appeals in the last two years have included:

2019

  • Appeal against review of West London off-licence with conditions and suspension; appeal settled, some conditions removed, suspension lifted.
  • Appeal against reduced hours imposed on Redditch premises licence following review; appeal settled, and hours reinstated.
  • Appeal against conditions imposed on Peterborough licence when granted including reduced hours; appeal allowed, and costs awarded in full.
  • Revocation of Burton-upon-Trent pub following various incidents of disorder; appeal settled, and licence preserved with further conditions.
  • Suspension of Berkshire off-licence following sale of alcohol to a minor and various breaches of conditions; appeal settled, and suspension lifted.
  • Revocation of West London off-licence following discovery of large quantity of illicit goods; appeal settled, and licence preserved.
  • Revocation of North London off-licence where a number of under-age sales took place; appeal settled, and licence preserved.
  • Revocation of Hampshire off-licence following allegations of child sexual exploitation at premises; appeal settled, and licence preserved.
  • Revocation of North East off-licence following sales to minors and multiple breaches of licence; appeal settled, and licence preserved.
  • Revocation of West London off-licence, following large quantity of illicit goods being discovered at the premises; appeal settled, and licence preserved.
  • Suspension of West London restaurant following discovery of large quantity of illicit goods at premises; appeal settled, and suspension reduced.
  • Revocation of North London off-licence following numerous breaches, discovery of illicit alcohol and tobacco plus various sales to minors; appeal settled, and licence preserved.
  • Appeal against refusal to grant licence at South London convenience store; appeal settled, and licence granted.
  • Revocation of East Midlands off-licence following discovery of illegal workers at premises; appeal settled, and licence preserved.
  • Revocation of Oxfordshire off-licence following sales to minors and numerous breaches of conditions; appeal settled, and licence preserved.
  • Appeal against reduction in hours at East Midlands social club following review application; appeal settled, and hours preserved.
  • Revocation of North London pizza restaurant licence following sales outside permitted hours and various breaches; appeal settled, and licence preserved.
  • Appeal against suspension of Surrey off-licence following multiple sales to minors; appeal settled with reduced period of suspension.
  • Revocation of West London off-licence following discovery of large quantity of illicit goods; appeal settled, and licence preserved.

2018

  • Revocation of West London off-licence following multiple sales to minors; appeal settled, and licence preserved.
  • Appeal against revocation of North London off-licence following sale to minor and numerous breaches; appeal settled, and licence preserved.
  • Revocation of Greater Manchester restaurant licence following a large cannabis farm being found in an associated building belonging to the proprietor; appeal settled, licence preserved, and proprietor allowed back on the establishment to operate the business.
  • Revocation of Lincolnshire off-licence after a seizure a of large quantity of illicit cigarettes and spirits; appeal allowed.
  • Revocation of Southend-on-Sea 24-hour off-licence for persistent breaches of conditions on the licence; appeal allowed, following two-day hearing.
  • Acted for Islington off-licence where the licence had been suspended following breaches of the licence; appeal allowed.
  • Revocation of East London off-licence following discovery of large quantity of illicit tobacco and spirits; appeal settled, and licence preserved.
  • East London off-licence whose application to vary hours on its premises licence had been refused.; appeal settled by way of consent order including provision for additional hours.
  • Appeal against decision of Birmingham City Council to refuse to renew massage establishment licence following allegations of immoral practices at premises; appeal allowed.
  • Appeal against revocation of West London off-licence following discovery large quantity of illicit goods and trading outside permitted hours; appeal settled.

Previous cases have included

  • Acted for East London convenience store following revocation of premises licence for seizure of illicit tobacco and alcohol described by local authority as the “worst on record”; appeal settled, and licence preserved.
  • Represented long-established Birmingham late night entertainment and function venue following revocation of licence for public nuisance; following a four-day appeal hearing, appeal allowed.
  • Revocation of South London off-licence following numerous sales of alcohol to minors; appeal settled, and licence preserved.
  • Revocation of East London off-licence following discovery of large quantity of illicit tobacco and spirits; appeal settled, and licence preserved.
  • Represented West Midlands off-licence in their appeal, where allegations of sexual assault against the DPS led to a review and revocation of the licence; appeal settled, and licence preserved.
  • Appeal in relation to Grantham restaurant following review by Lincolnshire Police who withdrew their appeal following submission of my skeleton argument.
  • Instructed by Nantwich late night refreshment premises in appeal against refusal to extend licensable hours; appeal allowed, and costs awarded.
  • Instructed by Leicester pub in revocation appeal; appeal settled.
  • Acted for Stoke-on-Trent premises licence holder at appeal against refusal to transfer premises licence into his name; appeal allowed, and costs awarded.

Taxi Licensing

Duncan has represented hackney carriage and private hire drivers and operators in appeals at Magistrates’ and Crown Courts throughout England and Wales as well as in relation to criminal proceedings against taxi drivers and private hire operators, especially in relation to plying for hire prosecutions. Duncan has a very high success rate in contested taxi appeals.

  • Birmingham phv driver whose licence had been revoked following allegations of improper conduct towards a 17-year-old female; appeal allowed at crown court and costs awarded.
  • Coventry hackney carriage driver whose licence had been revoked following several breaches; appeal settled, and licence preserved.
  • Worcester dual licence driver charged with failing to report an accident; case dismissed at half time.
  • Newcastle under Lyme taxi driver charged with plying for hire; acquitted and costs awarded.
  • Newcastle under Lyme driver whose licence was revoked following allegations of grooming; appeal allowed.
  • Stoke-on-Trent hackney carriage driver charged with plying for hire; acquitted and costs awarded.
  • Bolton driver who licence was revoked following various breaches of the terms of his licence; appeal allowed.
  • Coventry hackney carriage driver whose licence had been suspended following several breaches; appeal settled, and licence preserved.
  • Birmingham phv driver charged with plying for hire; acquitted and costs awarded.
  • Burney driver whose licence was revoked following allegations of poor driving; appeal allowed at crown court.
  • Coventry hackney carriage driver whose licence had been revoked following several complaints from passenger; appeal allowed.
  • Stoke-on-Trent applicant for phv licence whose application was refused due to historic rape allegation; appeal allowed at crown court.
  • Oldham dual driver whose licence had been revoked following allegations of poor driving; following legal arguments appeal settled at court.
  • Shropshire driver whose licence had been revoked following finding the he misled traffic commissioner and breaches his licence; appeal allowed.
  • Stoke-on-Trent driver with argument around costs following successful appeal; costs figure agreed with council before earing.
  • Stoke-on-Trent driver whose licence was revoked following allegation of violent disorder; appeal allowed at crown court with award of costs.
  • Birmingham phv driver whose licence was suspended following several breaches; appeal allowed.

Duncan has a good working knowledge of regulatory matters especially Health and Safety, Food Standards and Trading Standards. He has practical experience in writing, implementing, reviewing and updating risk assessments related to those fields, and can call upon his trade experience of dealing with Environmental Health Officers and Local Authorities in various parts of the country.

2019

  • Instructed by Chesterfield pub in relation to interim injunction proceedings against it regarding right of way; interim injunction application refused.
  • Instructed by Kent pub in relation to noise abatement proceedings; proceedings settled, and notice withdrawn.
  • Instructed by west midlands family in relation to clothes and jewellery seizure by HMRC; proceedings settled, and goods returned to family.
  • Claim for negligent misstatement on behalf of applicant for east midlands off licence who had been misinformed by local authority about whether premises were situated within their CIA; claim settled with a five-figure pay-out.
  • Instructed to represent Daventry off-licence, premises licence holder prosecuted for selling nitrous oxide canisters; crown court trial in late 2019.
  • Prosecution of Cardiff off-licence owner and company director for sale of vape product to minor; following legal argument, case dropped against director.
  • Instructed by Birmingham multiple nightclub operator in relation to contractual dispute with former partner with associated winding-up petition; following correspondence with claimant, petition withdrawn.
  • Instructed by midlands personal licence holder in claim for negligent misstatement against local police service; proceedings ongoing.
  • Birmingham take-away prosecuted for numerous food safety breaches in crown court; following extensive mitigation, immediate custody avoided despite initial judicial indications to the contrary.
  • Staffordshire licence holder prosecuted under section 136 of the Licensing Act 2003 for several breaches of her licence; following trial, finding of not guilty on all charges.
  • Instructed to remove restrictive covenants around the sale of alcohol on two shop premises leased from Birmingham City Council; discussions ongoing.
  • Instructed to represent midlands gambling operator in appeal against grant of premises licence; appeal resolved.
  • HMRC prosecution of licence holder regarding £130,000 of illicit of goods; following guilty plea at crown court, immediate custody avoided.
  • Instructed to represent Stoke-on-Trent pub in noise abatement proceedings; matter settled by way of consent order.
  • Instructed to represent Stoke-on-Trent pub in noise abatement proceedings; matter settled by way of consent order.
  • Instructed in relation to appeal to planning inspectorate by Surrey take away to vary planning conditions in relation to hours; appeal allowed.
  • Application for street licence in Bristol; application granted following hearing.
  • Instructed to advise European-based brewer in relation to UK law.
  • Represented Stoke-on-Trent licence holder in relation to ten charges under section 136 of the Licensing Act; five charges dropped, guilty pleas to the remaining five, with overall fine of £120.
  • Instructed to advise Northampton licence holder in relation to various planning issues at her premises.
  • Instructed to represent large Birmingham nightclub in dispute with PRS and PPL; settlement agreed between parties.

2018

  • Mansfield premises licence where allegations of running an SEV were brought against licence holder and DPS; prosecution withdrawn against DPS and most charges dropped against licence holder.
  • Represented Portsmouth off-licence in relation to trading standards prosecution for sale to minor; guilty plea and minimal fine.
  • Instructed to advise Birmingham male in relation to SIA licence application.
  • Instructed by Burton licence holder prosecuted under section 136 of the Licensing Act 2003 for ten breaches of his licence; finding of not guilty on all charges.

Previous cases have included

  • Instructed by Bolton taxi operator in appeal to planning inspectorate in relation to change of use at premises; appeal allowed.
  • Represented Manchester off-licence in contractual dispute with franchise company on the grounds of misrepresentation; settlement reached via mediation.
  • Represented Birmingham private hire operator in defending a claim against provider of telephone system to their base; claimant’s appeal struck out with costs awarded to the claimant.
  • Represented Birmingham nightclub in health and safety prosecution following member of staff falling off the roof.
  • Represented Salford convenience store in dispute with Post Office; settlement reached via mediation.

Further Information

Website

More information about Duncan can be found on his personal website, at http://www.licensingbarrister.co.uk/

Direct Access

He is approved by the Bar Council under the Direct Access scheme, and in suitable cases welcomes instructions directly from members of the public, companies or trade organisations. Please see the Direct Access section of this website, or contact Chambers clerks, for further information.

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