Harrison Drury’s regulatory and licensing team has been successful in overturning a closure order, applied for by the Lancashire Constabulary, and made against a nightclub in Preston.
The decision of Recorder Howard Bentham QC marks the first time in the UK that an appeal against a closure order made under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, has been successful.
Macs was shut in June following the police’s successful application to the Preston Magistrates’ Court for a closure order under the Act. It followed alleged incidents of anti-social behaviour and disorder outside the venue.
Mr Recorder Bentham QC, sitting on the panel with two magistrates for the two day full rehearing at Preston Crown Court, said: “It is right to observe that the police have an astonishingly difficult job to do because they have to balance the duties and rights of different parties…Providing proper systems are in place, operating properly, we do not believe closure is necessary.”
Following the case, David Edwards, head of Harrison Drury’s regulatory team, who has represented Macs throughout the proceedings, said: “This case is significant because the alleged incidents of anti-social behaviour and disorder happened outside the premises on the street.
“The big legal question this case had to answer concerned the legal definition of ‘immediate vicinity of the venue’, which management and door staff have responsibility for, as against what falls outside this area, which police are responsible for, in addition to determining what amounts to disorder and anti-social behaviour for the purposes of the legislation.”
“This is the first successful appeal against a closure order made under the legislation, being on the back of an application made by the police, rather than a local authority. The lack of any clear precedent on the definition of ‘immediate vicinity’ for the purposes of the new legislation, means this will likely be a test case for the industry.”
David Edwards is part of the team at Harrison Drury solicitors in Preston, specialising in compliance and dispute resolution. The firm has also branched out all across the North West in recent years to provide legal advice in Garstang, Lancaster, Clitheroe and Kendal.