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    "He is fast on his feet and pulls no punches if he thinks you're going down the wrong path."

    Chambers and Partners, Charles Holland

Charles Holland

Charles Holland, licensing barrister at Francis Taylor Building

Year of call: 1994

Practice areas: Licensing, Local Government, Rating, Public Law, European Law

Public Access

Charles Holland

Practice Profile

Charles Holland's practice combines licensing work and a broad range of contentious chancery and commercial litigation. He is ranked by the independent legal directories as a leading practitioner in both these areas.

Charles is a results-driven lawyer. He aims to help the client to understand the opportunities and challenges a case presents, to set a goal, and to develop and deliver a focused strategy to get to that goal. He is known as a tenacious, no-nonsense advocate.

Charles is an Associate Member at Francis Taylor Building and practises principally from Trinity Chambers, Newcastle.

  • "He is extremely personable and very thorough, and goes the extra mile for the client - he does an immense amount of research." "He stands out for his advocacy, his approach is not aggressive but firm and he doesn't talk down to anyone." Chambers and Partners, 2015

  • "He is absolutely first-class. His paperwork is thorough, and his attention to detail on drafting is excellent." Chambers and Partners, 2015

  • ''A reassuringly knowledgeable and confident practitioner, who is good at dealing with difficult individuals.'' The Legal 500, 2014

  • ''His no-nonsense but approachable manner is refreshing.'' The Legal 500, 2014

  • ''He is capable, highly amenable and always goes that extra mile to win the case" ... ''Good at developing tactics and strategy for difficult cases.'' Chambers and Partners, 2014

  • ''Very commercial and analytical.'' The Legal 500, 2013

  • ''Inventive, gets facts very quickly and has a nice habit of getting to the heart of what a case is about.'' Chambers UK, 2013

  • ''Gets straight to the point with his advice.'' The Legal 500, 2012

  • ''Exceedingly good.'' ''Recognised for his vigour and impressive advocacy skills.'' Chambers UK, 2012

  • 'He is straightforward to deal with and always puts 100% into researching his cases, delivering great results.' - Legal 500, 2016

  • 'Focused on the details; he uncovers arguments that would have never been found.' - Legal 500, 2016


Charles acts for a wide range of clients, including local authorities, statutory bodies, single and multiple operators and objectors, in relation to all types of licences and applications. He has vast experience of appearing before local authority committees and on appeals to the Magistrates' Courts, Crown Court (in taxi and firearms matters) and High Court (in appeals by way of case stated and judicial review). He is also instructed to act as legal advisor to licensing committees.

Charles has advised and appeared in many bar and nightclub applications, including the highly contentious ''Chase'' and ''Gresham'' matters in Newcastle. In retail premises he has huge experience of reviews concerning matters such as underage sales, sales to street drinkers and the stocking of counterfeit or duty evaded alcohol.

Charles has appeared in several high profile concert venue, sporting and entertainment applications including The Sage Gateshead, Newcastle Carling Academy, Birmingham Carling Academy, Darlington FC, Auckland Castle and the Tyneside Cinema (which involved a 4.00am bar in Newcastle's cumulative impact zone). He recently advised a local authority in relation to police concerns arising from a late kick off for a contentious derby football match.

Taxi licensing forms a substantial proportion of Charles’s licensing practice, and he is instructed nationally by local authorities, operators, and individual driver/proprietors. He represented Berwick in R. (on the application of Newcastle City Council) v. Berwick upon Tweed Borough Council (2009) and the local authority in Wilcock v. Lancaster City Council [2013]. On the other side of the fence, he successfully appeared for Mr Henderson in Gateshead Council v. Henderson [2012]. Advisory work includes acting for local authorities in relation to policy formulation and revision. He chaired a workshop hosted in the North East by the Law Commission in relation to its review of taxi services, and regularly gives talks and hosts seminars on taxi licensing topics.

In sexual entertainment cases Charles has advised and acted in many lap-dancing applications, most frequently for operators who are either applying or pursuing a trade objection. He represented the applicant in R (Ruby May (1) Limited) v. Leeds City Council [2014]. Other sex licensing matters have included appearing for the applicant in R. v. Newcastle City Council (ex parte The Christian Institute) [2001].

Charles acts and advises in firearms (both for the police and certificate holders) and gambling matters. He has recently been providing advice and acting as legal advisor in relation to scrap metal dealing licence applications.

Chancery / Commercial

Charles has a well-established and broad-ranging chancery and commercial litigation practice. He seeks to achieve pragmatic and commercial resolutions to disputes, with advice delivered in clear user-friendly terms. There is a frequent overlap between Charles's commercial and licensing practices, with Charles acting for licensing clients in ancillary commercial and property matters.

His commercial work concerns contractual disputes, building disputes, guarantees, mortgages and other security, restrictive covenants in employment contracts and confidential information. Cross-overs to licensing work include claims brought by the Premier League against public houses showing live football matches.

Company law matters undertaken include shareholder disputes and cases involving breach of statutory and fiduciary duties by directors and senior employees. He is currently representing a local authority in a significant breach of fiduciary claim. Charles acts in partnership disputes, including agricultural and professional partnerships. He has recently been involved in a complex company / insolvency matter involving the breakup of a pub chain.

In property matters, Charles advises and acts in many landlord and tenant cases (often involving licensed premises, including those with beer-tie issues), conveyancing and related land disputes, and cases involving covenant and boundary issues. Covenant work includes the release of covenants prohibiting the sale of intoxicating liquor. Charles is presently acting in a complex dispute proceeding in the Leeds District Registry concerning substantial property assets in Dubai. He has represented applicants and interested parties in village green inquiries.

Charles's chancery practice also includes contentious probate and Inheritance Act claims.

Cases of Note


Regulatory Crime

  • Durham County Council v X - defending taxi driver on multiple charges arising out of a mission of mercy in an unlicensed vehicle - all charges withdrawn.
  • Durham County Council v High Hedley Hope Farm - breaches of the Cattle Identification regulations - plea bargain.
  • Gateshead MBC v Stafford - Representing the Defendant in relation to a prosecution for offences involving unlawful lottery. Substantial POCA application threatened. Successfully persuaded prosecution to withdraw on the basis of abuse of process arguments.
  • Gateshead Council v Henderson [2012] EWHC 807 (Admin) - plying for hire.

Chancery / commercial

Public law

Qualfications, Appointment and Professional Memberships

  • University of Nottingham, LL.B. (Hons).
  • Inns of Court School of Law, 1994
  • Diploma in Advocacy (National Institute of Trial Advocacy)
  • Junior Counsel to the Crown (Provincial Panel) (2000-2007)
  • Member, North Eastern Circuit
  • Member, Institute of Licensing
  • Member, Chancery Bar Association

Direct Access

Charles Holland is qualified to accept instructions directly from professionals and members of the public in appropriate cases.

Publications and Speeches

  • Plans, red lines, cigars: why your clients' cellars probably should be licensed (and how to drink and smoke there are the same time) (2018)
  • Interim suspensions of taxi driver licences - still lawful? - Journal of Licensing (November 2017)
  • Trading without a licence and confiscation orders under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (2017)
  • Forster and the implications for planning and licensing changes - Journal of Licensing (November 2016)
  • Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 (2016)
  • Hire and Reward Insurance: new requirements for PHVs in London (2016)
  • Conditions requiring compliance with “police-led initiatives” (2016)
  • Why you don't need a licence if all you do is deliver hot food at night (2016)
  • Global operators - local regulators  - the licensing issues caused by App-based taxi operators (Westminster Briefing, 2016)
  • Minimum Unit Pricing in Scotland - Journal of Licensing (November 2015)
  • Taxis and the Deregulation Act 2015 (2015)
  • Defensible Licensing Decisions (2015)


Annual Licensing Seminar for Police

An all day seminar for police licensing officers and solicitors.

Registration from 10.30am.  Seminar from 11.00am to 3.30pm.