Mu Mu Enterprises v North Somerset DC

Mu Mu Enterprises v North Somerset District CouncilIn Mu Mu Enterprises v North Somerset District Council (2013) the authority’s sub-committee determined to continue with a review hearing despite failing to advertise the application on its website.

The sub-committee, on the basis that its function was to promote the licensing objectives, dismissed the Mu Mu Enterprises’ argument that the review could not proceed.

On appeal the Council accepted that the application should have been on its website but argued;

(a) the application had been advertised by notice on the premises and had been reported in a local newspaper, and

(b) it was a clerical error and sought to rely on R v Secretary of State for the Home Department ex p. Jeyeanthan CA 1999.

Mu Mu Enterprises relied on Corporation of the Hall of Arts and Sciences v Albert Court Residents' Association & others v Westminster City Council [2011] EWCA Civ 430, which at paragraph 37 states:

"When exercising any discretion or power of decision under the Act, a licensing authority must do so "with a view to promoting the licensing objectives" as there defined. However, once the authority is under an unqualified duty to carry out an act specified by statute there is no room for section 4 to apply. The authority simply has no choice but to perform its statutory duty" (para.37)

It also relied on, Matthew Taylor v Manchester City Council & TCG Bars Limited [2012] EWCH 3467 (Admin) which considered the statutory procedural requirements under the Act:

Subject to the express requirements of the Hearing Regulations, procedure at the hearing of an application is expressly a matter for the licensing authority (regulation 21 of the Hearing Regulations). There is no similar provision in the Premises Regulations, which are generally prescriptive as to the pre-hearing procedure that must be followed by the applicant ...and the licensing authority' (para.20 and again at para.83).

Clearly, a power to amend that would defeat or undermine the object of the procedural provisions relating to advertisement ... could not conceivably be implied' (para.70).

The Court, allowed the appeal, declared the review proceedings void and made a costs order against the Council.