In a Scottish licensing case which may have repercussions for other local authorities in Scotland, a sheriff has this week overturned a condition imposed on several snack van operators banning them from being located within 250 metres of local schools.
TLT represented some 30 affected operators, five of which were called to a hearing where the condition was imposed on the businesses street trader licence, and subsequently appealed.
The case, Karen McLuskey & Others v North Lanarkshire Council 2015 (as yet unreported), has attracted press coverage across the UK when the case was debated at Hamilton Sheriff Court. Sheriff Vincent Smith, in upholding the appeal, has reversed the decision of North Lanarkshire Council's Licensing Committee to impose the condition and upheld the pleas-in-law on behalf of the traders.
Stephen McGowan, Partner and Head of Licensing (Scotland) at TLT LLP, represented the traders at the original hearings and instructed Scott Blair, Advocate, who appeared in relation to the appeal.
TLT’s Stephen McGowan said: "I am delighted for the van owners that the appeal has been upheld. In some cases, the traders have been at their location for three decades and long before the development of nearby schools.
“We argued at the original hearing that the licensing authority was acting outside its powers by using licensing law to achieve another purpose - in this case, to purportedly further a legal duty placed on the local authority to promote healthy school meals - and the Sheriff has certainly taken this point. We also argued that a licensing authority does not have power to consider nutritional standards of food sold by a licensed street trader, which Sheriff Smith has also agreed with.
“I am aware that a number of other Scottish licensing authorities have similar policies which ban snack vans from being located next to schools. So it may be that these policies will be revisited following this judgement, but it is of course now open to the licensing authority to consider any appeal to the Court of Session."