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    "He is one of the top licensing barristers in the country"

    Chambers and Partners, Charles Holland

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 an exceptional advocate with fantastic research skills.  He gives 100% to every case to ensure the client has the absolute best chance of success"  - Chambers and Partners, 2020

  • "He always provide practical advice and has an ability to navigate problems.  He is one of the top licensing barristers in the country" - Chambers and Partners, 2020

  • ‘He has an eye for detail, is not afraid of challenging situations and has a commercial approach to clients' needs.' -  Legal 500, 2020

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

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

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

  • "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 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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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 [2013]. On the other side of the fence, he successfully appeared for Mr Henderson in Gateshead Council v. Henderson [2012].  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 [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. 

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.


Cases of Note


  • How Do You Do, North Shields – defending a review arising out of alleged breaches of the Coronavirus Regulations.
  • Nakira and Petite Afrique - representing West Midlands Police in relation to an appeal against interim steps imposed on two premises in Birmingham following breaches of the lockdown regulations.
  • Caza Cruz, London – acting for the Metropolitan Police in a review of a premises licence arising from hosting a birthday party for Rita Ora during the second national lockdown.
  • Melin, Chigwell – bringing a review on behalf of the Metropolitan Police of a premises licence of a restaurant popular with the cast of “TOWIE” following numerous breaches of the lockdown regulations.
  • Tudor Rose and Milan Palace, Ealing – applying on behalf of the Metropolitan Police in relation to the summary reviews of the licences for two neighbouring premises which hosted weddings in breach of the lockdown regulations.
  • Uber London Limited v. Transport for London, Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association [2020] EWHC 00 (Admin) – acting and appearing for the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association as a participant in relation to Uber’s appeal against TfL’s second refusal to renew its London PHV operator’s licence. 
  • Chapel Barn, Wilderness Reserve - securing a premises licence for the latest addition to this 5,000-acre conservation project, which has involved the extensive restoration of both land and the historic buildings in the Suffolk countryside over the last 20 years.
  • Wold View Farm, Cottam – acting for the sole residential objector in successfully resisting an application for a premises licence for a wedding venue.
  • The Schooner, Gateshead - representing the operator of this public house in relation to review founded on alleged breaches of the Coronavirus regulations and guidance.
  • Goldies and Ché Bar – defending police review of late bars in Stockton (including allegations of wrongful trading during the COVID pandemic).
  • Twisted Lemon, Brighton - securing by way of a compromised appeal the removal of a restaurant condition from premises in Brighton’s Cumulative Impact Zone.
  • Metropolitan House Hotel, Newcastle - successful licence application for hotel with restaurant and bar facilities on “Diamond Strip” in Newcastle’s Special Stress Area.
  • Stack, Newcastle - resisting appeal by way of case stated in relation to the sufficiency of the application plans
  • Clock Tower, Stockton - representing the operator in resisting a police-led review.
  • Stack, Newcastle - appeal heard over 8 days with a 113 page reserved judgment - representing the successful respondent operator against an appeal by a trade objector.
  • Leather Cap, Easington Colliery - representing the club in respect of a review brought by a neighbour - review involved complaints of inappropriately tethered horses and one donkey.
  • Uber London Limited v Transport for London - representing the Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association in relation to their participation in Uber's appeal
  • Uber Britannia Limited v Brighton & Hove District Council - representing the Brighton Sudanese Taxi Forum and the United Taxi Drivers Association in their objection to the renewal of Uber's licence
  • Operation Doncaster reviews, Newcastle - representing various operators in a series of closure order backed reviews relating to cocaine dealing in Newcastle upon Tyne.
  • A Bit on the Side, Newcastle - licence application
  • Eat Chill Play, Newcastle - licence application for premises in Jesmond.
  • Club Bongo International, Middlesbrough - Acting for Cleveland Police and Middlesbrough Public Health in the successful revocation of this nightclub licence after a serious assault by door staff on a customer. 
  • Cuban Cigar Club, Newcastle - obtained a premises licence for this specialist tobacconist. Involved issues as to what constitutes "sampling" for the purpose of the smoke-free legislation.
  • Lifestyle Express, Newcastle - appeal relating to a condition requiring compliance with "reducing the strength" scheme
  • Newcastle City Juniors FC Sports Club - licensing clubhouse for this successful junior football club
  • Fusion Festival - securing a licence for this well-established festival upon its move from Birmingham to Liverpool. The new licence has a capacity of 60,000 and was granted against heavy opposition. Instructed by the event organiser on a direct access basis.
  • Kynren - the UK's largest open air night spectacular, based on Puy de Fou, part of Jonathan Ruffer's £100m vision to regenerate Bishop Auckland. Premises licence application
  • Eleven Arches - the UK's largest open air night spectacular, based on Puy de Fou, part of Jonathan Ruffer's £100m vision to regenerate Bishop Auckland. Premises licence application
  • R (Ruby May (1) Limited) v Leeds City Council [2014] EWHC 878 (Admin) - judicial review of refusal to renew lapdancing club licence.
  • Wilcock v Lancaster City Council [2013] EWCA Civ 1607 (CA) [2013] EWHC 1231 (Admin) - use of s.68 notices in taxi enforcement.
  • Inside Out, Darlington - review of nightclub.
  • Auckland Castle - licence application following Jonathan Ruffer's £25m donation to secure the future of the Castle.
  • Middlesbrough Arena - premises licence review.
  • Kay v Lancaster City Council - appeals and judicial review brought by hackney carriage driver.
  • Gateshead Council v Henderson [2012] EWHC 807 (Admin) - plying for hire.
  • Jeffery v Carlisle City Council [2010] - appeal and judicial review relating to revocation of hackney carriage driver's licence.
  • Cornerhouse, Middlesbrough - review of nightclub licence.
  • Snaith v Scarborough Borough Council - ''renting'' of hackney carriage proprietor’s licences.
  • Raw, Whitby - appeal against refusal to grant premises licence.
  • R (on the application of Newcastle City Council) v. Berwick upon Tweed Borough Council : (2009) B.L.G.R. 195 - grant of hackney carriage licences by authority A to be used to undertake pre-booked work in authority B's area.
  • Bare Elegance, Newcastle upon Tyne - trade objection to lapdancing club.
  • Carling Academy, Birmingham - appeal against refusal of variation.
  • Sage, Gateshead - licence application.
  • Barbican Centre, York - licence application.
  • Carling Academy, Newcastle - licence application.
  • Darlington Football Cub - licence application for new stadium.
  • R (on the application of Bushell) v Newcastle Licensing Justices : [2005] 1 W.L.R. 1732
  • R (on the application of Walton) v Castle Morpeth Borough Council [2005] - judicial review arising from advertisement of application in a newspaper not circulating in the vicinity of the premises.
  • For Your Eyes Only - chain of lapdancing clubs, licence applications.
  • R v Newcastle City Council, ex parte The Christian Institute [2001] L.G.R. 165 - fair of erotica
  • New Northumbria Hotel, Jesmond - series of licence applications.
  • Chase Bar, Newcastle - special removal of old on-licence.

Regulatory Crime

  • North Tyneside Council v Durham Ice and Sports Stadium Limited [2021] acting for the defendant in a prosecution arising out of breaches of the Control of Asbestos Regulations.
  • S v A [2019] successfully defending a private prosecution brought by a tenant under s.82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990
  • Reading Borough Council v Ali [2019] EWHC 200 (Admin) - appeal by way of case stated on the issue of whether a driver’s use of the Uber App is plying for hire.
  • Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council v X and Y - defending prosecutions for sales of alcohol to underage persons despite review proceedings concluded, appealed and compromised. Prosecutions withdrawn following abuse of process arguments.
  • 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, Appointments 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
  • Member, Environmental Law Bar Association
  • Consulting Editor, Paterson's Licensing Acts
  • Assistant Editor, Journal of Licensing

Direct Access

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

Publications and Speeches


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