From:††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Steward, Michelle: WCC
Sent:†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 27 March 2019 08:43
To:††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Jack Spiegler
Cc: Seaward, Angela: WCC; Jackaman, Kevin: WCC; Rowe, Steven: WCC; Gadd, Daisy: WCC
Subject: Sophisticats, 3-7 Brewer Street, 18/110644/LISEVR & 77 Welbeck Street 18/11062/LISEVR
Thank you for your letter dated 26th March 2019, the contents of which have been noted. A copy will be made available to the members at the meeting on 10th April. In addition, a copy will be sent to all four objectors so that they are aware of your legal submissions and assertions to the effect that evidence of factual evidence will have to be given by witnesses who can be cross-examined.
We note your comments regarding the Councilís SEV guidance and procedure notes effective from 17th February 2012. However, you will also be aware that rule 5.20 does allow for any of the rules relating to the hearings to be waived, altered or modified by the Sub-Committee. As matters currently stand we will bring your letter to the attention of the objectors as described above but, at officer level, we do not accept that the objectors do have to attend the hearing in person and we are also of the view that a witness can potentially attend and give evidence without revealing their name and address.
We note your reference to the case of White v Nursing and Midwifery Council  EWHC 520 (Admin). We do not accept that the judgment in that case is relevant to a licensing hearing being held pursuant to Schedule 3 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982. That case was specifically about whether or not anonymous hearsay evidence is admissible in professional disciplinary proceedings.
The rules of procedure are not legally binding. The legislation, on the other hand, does contain some binding procedural requirements in paragraph 10 of Schedule 3. It is quite clear that the licensing authority is not permitted to reveal the name or address of any objector to the applicant without their consent. Notice in writing of the general terms of the objection have to be given to the applicant and it is our policy to give you the full objection that has been received. The authority must have regard to any objections which have been received within the 28 day period specified and has discretion to consider objections received after the 28 day period. Only the applicant has a right to be heard by the Licensing Sub-Committee but our practice is to allow objectors to be heard if they choose to attend the hearing.
With a renewal application, our usual approach is to suggest that the objectors who are present are heard first so that the applicant has full details of the objections before giving their own evidence. The applicant can obviously dispute any of the evidence presented by the objectors and the members will then decide the weight to be given to the evidence having regard to whether the objectors remain anonymous and whether they do attend to give that evidence. The members of the Sub-Committee may ask pertinent questions of the applicant and the objectors with a view to establishing the truth or otherwise of the evidence that is presented. The applicant will always have the final word before the members retire to consider their decision. Cross-examination is generally discouraged but may be permitted with the consent of the Sub-Committee.
The members of the Licensing Sub-Committee will determine how the proceedings are actually conducted on the day and you will have an opportunity to express your views in that regard at the start of the hearing.
Senior Licensing Officer
Public Protection and Licensing
Westminster City Council
64 Victoria Street
London SW1E 6QP
0207 641 1872 (Internal 1872)
0207 641 6500 (Contact Centre)