Emergency legal advice line

17 October, 2008

A 24-hour advice line for off-licence owners who run into trouble with local authorities, environmental health officers and the police

has been launched by

licensing law firm Poppleston Allen .

There will be no fee for the initial phone conversation , but the firm's usual rates will kick in

for

further representation . Solicitor Andy Grimsey

called

Licence 999

a response to the "vast array of enforcement weapons in the authorities' arsenal".

He added: "Sometimes these tools are a necessary and proportionate response to problems at the premises, but we are also seeing instances of incorrect interpretation of the law by the authorities, as well as heavy-handed tactics when a more moderate approach could have solved the problem.

"The government is planning

regional workshops to train police and local authority officers in enforcement issues, but it is not offering licensees workshops to understand their legal rights.

"We hope

Licence 999 may help redress the balance a little."

The launch was backed by the Wine & Spirit Trade Association. Chief executive Jeremy Beadles said: "This is a

useful resource for licensees

. If you're in any doubt on the legislation

it makes sense to seek early advice."




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