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Public law and Regulation

Case reports and guidance on public law and professional regulation issues

14 JUN 2012

Hemming (t/a Simply Pleasures Ltd) v Westminster City Council [2012] EWHC 1260 (Admin)

Licensing - Sex establishments - Calculation of fees - Reasonable fees - Costs of authorisation and enforcement - Restitution

A licensing authority could not simply roll-over its licencing fees without determining the licence fee. When setting the fee, the local authority could not reflect enforcement costs due to Directive 2006/123.

16 May 2012

Administrative Court

Keith J

(1)        A number of sex establishment licensees sought to challenge by way of judicial review the licence fee set by Westminster City Council for 2011-12. In addition, they sought restitution of a proportion of the licence fees that they had paid in the previous five years. In 2004, the local authority had determined the annual licence fee for sex establishments for 2005/06 at around £29,000. This had remained the same until 2011-12. The licensees argued that (i) the local authority had not determined the licence fee for 2011-12 within the meaning of paragraph 19 of Schedule 3 to the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982; (ii) regulation 18(4) of the Provision of Services Regulations 2009 prevented the local authority from charging a fee based on enforcing the licensing system and (iii) claims for restitution should be allowed for five previous years where the licence fee had reflected the costs of enforcing the licensing system.

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