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Public safety 
versus public health

Jeremy Phillips considers a European ruling on gambling licences, cases on the boundary between the planning and licensing jurisdictions, and other significant developments

19 January 2016

Many of you will remember the latest developments in the public safety versus public health debate, outlined ?in my previous update (SJ 159/35). For those who do not, the issue, briefly, was whether premises with an appalling food safety record could be made the subject of a premises licence review under the Licensing Act 2003, on the basis that its continued operation represented a risk to ‘public safety’. Somewhat to the surprise of many involved, the district judge responsible for determining the preliminary issue on appeal ?in the magistrates’ court held that it was not permissible for a review to be brought on such grounds. So far, so clear.

Unnecessarily, though, the judge then proceeded to find that it was ‘clear from the whole of the decision of the committee that they took into account a number of factors before making their decision’, so it could not be said that the food safety issue was pivotal. While ‘food safety and/or ...

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