High Court rules on procedural defects

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Clients may be interested to know that the High Court has recently ruled that relatively minor procedural defects in the application or enforcement process will not fatally undermine the proceedings as a whole.  

As with so many other situations, each case will be decided on its own facts! 

On 18 February 2014 the High Court ruled in R (D&D Bar Services Ltd) -v- Romford Magistrates Court and the London Borough of Redbridge [2014] EWHC 213 Admin, that procedural defects do not automatically render licensing proceedings invalid. 

The court will have to consider the extent of compliance with the procedural requirements and the extent to which any breach of procedure has prejudiced the other party to the proceedings. 

This is the first time the High Court has considered this recurring point in the context of the Licensing Act 2003. 

This case does not give Councils a green light to ignore or pay only limited regard to regulations under the Licensing Act 2003. However where errors are made then this case establishes that the defect is not necessarily fatal to those proceedings. 

The question is whether the consequence of the defect is to invalidate the proceedings so that they have to start again.