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 in relation to applications 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 regularly 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'', ''Gresham'' and “Stack” 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 and tobacco.
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, Kynren and the Tyneside Cinema (which involved a 4.00am bar in Newcastle's cumulative impact zone).
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 . On the other side of the fence, he successfully appeared for Mr Henderson in Gateshead Council v. Henderson . He has acted in a series of cases involving the global app-based operator, Uber, including Uber London Limited v. Transport for London (2018), Reading Borough Council v. Ali (2019), United Cabbies Group (London) v. Transport for London, Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association and Uber London Limited (2019), Uber London Limited v. Transport for London (2020) and United Trade Action Group Limited v. Transport for London (2021). He also acts in criminal cases involving prosecutions for offences under the regulatory scheme. Advisory work includes acting for local authorities in relation to policy formulation and revision. He has appeared on panels with members of the Task and Finish Group on Taxi and Private Hire Licensing. He regularly writes articles, gives talks and hosts seminars on taxi licensing topics. He also advises and represent operators in relation to Traffic Commissioner matters.
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 . Other sex licensing matters have included appearing for the applicant in R. v. Newcastle City Council (ex parte The Christian Institute) .
Charles acts and advises in firearms (both for the police and certificate holders) and gambling matters.
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.
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. He has represented applicants and interested parties in village green inquiries.
Charles's chancery practice also includes contentious probate and Inheritance Act claims.
Public Law and Local Government
Charles is frequently retained in matters concerning the exercise of local authority powers. He has appeared in judicial review proceedings concerning a diverse range of matters, including questions arising under the National Assistance Act, challenges to procurement decisions, the setting of care home fees and the issue of an abatement notice to an individual with involuntary vocalisation system.
During the coronavirus pandemic, Charles has become well-known as one of the country’s leading legal experts on regulations made under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984. He has advised numerous local authorities, police forces and operators on issues arising under the regulations, and has written in both the specialist and national press on the subject, as well as giving evidence to the House of Lords Constitution Committee in relation to its enquiries into the constitutional implications of regulatory control.