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.
Charles is one of the leading licensing lawyers in the country. He 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 for a licence or pursuing a trade objection against one. 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. His property practice crosses over into licensing with selective and HMO licensing cases.
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 syndrome.
During the coronavirus pandemic, Charles became 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.
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. 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 acts in service charge disputes including applications for dispensation from consultation requirements. He has represented applicants and interested parties in village green inquiries, and has advised on issues relating to common land and manorial title.
Charles's chancery practice also includes insolvency matters, contentious probate and Inheritance Act claims.
- Waterloo News, Middlesbrough – review application concerning breaches of Coronavirus regulations and conduct towards officers.
- Rialto, Ponteland – objection to box park style operation.
- City Vaults, Newcastle – objection to sexual entertainment venue.
- 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  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  EWHC 878 (Admin) - judicial review of refusal to renew lapdancing club licence.
- Wilcock v Lancaster City Council  EWCA Civ 1607 (CA)  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  EWHC 807 (Admin) - plying for hire.
- Jeffery v Carlisle City Council  - 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 :  1 W.L.R. 1732
- R (on the application of Walton) v Castle Morpeth Borough Council  - 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  L.G.R. 165 - fair of erotica
- New Northumbria Hotel, Jesmond - series of licence applications.
- Chase Bar, Newcastle - special removal of old on-licence.
- Newcastle City Council v H - defending prosecution for non-compliance with s.235 Housing Act 2004 notice in relation to enforcement of selective licensing scheme - no evidence offered following application to stay for abuse of process.
- Rostron v Northumberland County Council  – defending application for noise abatement order in relation to glass recycling centre
- North Tyneside Council v Durham Ice and Sports Stadium Limited  acting for the defendant in a prosecution arising out of breaches of the Control of Asbestos Regulations.
- S v A  successfully defending a private prosecution brought by a tenant under s.82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990
- Reading Borough Council v Ali  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  EWHC 807 (Admin) - plying for hire.
Chancery / Commercial
- Joint opinion with Gregory Jones KC on whether religious user should be treated as a qualifying use in relation to the listing of a closed church as an asset of community value.
- Acting for an elected panel in relation to dispute over the management of a mosque.
- Advice to the holder of manorial rights in relation to major road development over common land.
- Advising a major online bookmaker in relation to a claim by a beneficiary of what was alleged to be a Dubai-based trust for the return of money gambled away by a gambling addict.
- Solar panel, cavity wall insulation, energy and financial mis-selling - strategic advice relating to consumer claims against suppliers, funders and brokers.
- Ghura, Ghura, Singh, Boi Trading Co Ltd and Chan Casuals Ltd v Dalal, Dalal and Blackburn Clothing Company Ltd  EWHC 605 (Ch),  EWHC 1685 (Ch) - claims and cross-claims involving property developments in Dubai.
- The Abbeyfield Newcastle upon Tyne Society Limited v Newcastle City Council  EHWC 2437 (Ch) - quantum meruit claim relating to care home fees.
- Paynter & Anor v Hinch  EWHC 13 (Ch) - contested probate
- ABC v XYZ  - action for specific performance of contract to sell large remediated brownfield development site, lengthy expert determination before John Male KC.
- Beadnell, Northumberland - 2 village green applications, representing applicants, 6 days of evidence.
- North Eastern Properties Limited v Coleman and Quinn  1 W.L.R. 2715 (CA) - specific performance of contract for sale of land, s.2 Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989.
- Lido Leisure Limited v Redcar and Cleveland BC  - lease renewal, judicial review; village green issues.
- Newcastle City Council v Morrison (2000) 32 H.L.R. 891 (CA) - reasonableness of making a possession order.
- Advice in relation to effects of the change to the Public Works Loans Board lending criteria.
- Acting for local authorities in defending challenges to Merton-compliant age assessments
- Advising numerous local authorities in relation to issues arising from the Coronavirus Regulations, including those arising from equestrian centres, drive-in shisha bars, winter fairs, department stores, hotels housing asylum seekers and student residences.
- R (United Cabbies Action Group) v. Transport for London and Transopco UK Ltd - acting for the claimant in a challenge to Transport for London’s decision to renew an operating licence to the FreeNow platform.
- R. (Susan Fisher) v. Durham County Council  EHWC 1277 – representing the local authority in its successful defence to a challenge to issue an abatement notice in respect of a statutory noise nuisance caused by an individual with involuntary vocalisation syndrome, challenged on basis of alleged disability discrimination, breach of PSED, breach of human rights and irrationality.
- R (United Cabbies Group (London) Ltd) v Westminster Magistrates Court, Transport for London, Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, Uber London Limited  EWHC 409 (Admin) - representing the LTDA on this challenge the Chief Magistrate’s decision to re-licence Uber London Limited.
- R (on the application of XY) v (1) Crown Court sitting at Newcastle (2) Chief Constable of Northumbria, (3) DPP  EWHC 1872 (Divisional Court) - representing a covert human intelligence source in his judicial review of decisions to that there was no public interest immunity in his identity and to reveal that identity to defendants in the "Operation Sanctuary" trials.
- R.(on the application of Care North East Newcastle) v Newcastle City Council  EWHC 2655 - judicial review challenge to the setting of care home fees.
- D v Hambleton District Council and Richmondshire District Council - challenge to the procurement of waste disposal services.
- Ejang v Gateshead MBC and Newham LBC  - determination of where vulnerable adult was ordinarily resident for the purposes of the National Assistance Act.
- 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
Charles Holland is qualified to accept instructions directly from professionals and members of the public in appropriate cases.
- “No, there is no Downing Street Christmas party loophole” - The Spectator (10 December 2021)
- “Cumulative Impact Assessments Post COVID-19” speech to IOL National Training Conference
- “Licensing and Transparency” (2021) speech to regional meetings of the IOL
- “No sex discussions please, we’re British” (with Leo Charalambides) – Journal of Licensing (July 2021)
- “Why we should apply common sense to Covid regulations” - The Spectator (4 April 2021)
- “The Transport Secretary’s Guidance does a disservice to officers” - Journal of Licensing (March 2021).
- “Boris’s latest lockdown rules are more baffling than ever” - The Spectator (9 January 2021)
- “What does the Tier 4 law on travelling actually say” - The Spectator (20 December 2020)
- “All Reasonable Measures: tidying up the Coronavirus, Restrictions Regulations and the law of unintended consequences” - Local Government Lawyer (December 2020)
- “Covid 19 and the sale and supply of alcohol” - Journal of Licensing (November 2020)
- “Regulating Transport Technology” - speech to the IOL National Training Conference (November 2020).
- “The 3-Tier Covid Regulations: Impact on Licensed Premises” (with Gary Grant) - Local Government Lawyer (October 2020).
- “Music Noise limits in all hospitality venues to slow COVID spread are not technically sound” (with Peter Rogers) - Institute of Acoustics (September 2020)
- “Local authority costs and the indemnity principle - Re Eastwood applied” (July 2020)
- “Discrimination arguments, PSED and licensing appeals” - Journal of Licensing (July 2020)
- “What licence do you need to deliver alcohol?” (March 2020)
- “Open Justice, agenda papers and the Licensing Act 2003” – Journal of Licensing (March 2020)
- “Life, the universe and everything: Can sense be made of fee regimes?” (Journal of Licensing, November 2019)
- “Uber Wars” (2019)
- “Understanding how the costs system works” (Journal of Licensing, March 2019)
- “The use and abuse of expert witness evidence in licensing” (Journal of Licensing, November 2018). [please replace previous bullet with this one]
- “Financial limits and the Consumer Credit Act 1974” (October 2018)
- "The wide but often overlooked duties of council decision-making" (Journal of Licensing, July 2018)
- "A Wider Approach to Licensing" (North East Northern Legal Conference, Gateshead 2018)
- 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)
Back to Barristers
"Charles is second to none when it comes to advising on licensing matters and his research for preparation for hearings is exceptional."Chambers and Partners, 2024
"Charles is great with lay clients. His written advocacy is strong, which translates into his oral advocacy."Chambers and Partners, 2024
"Charles is a very good commercial litigation barrister who understands complex material easily."Chambers and Partners, 2024
"Charles is very clever, hard working and excellent on his feet."Chambers and Partners, 2024
"Charles is an incredibly dedicated barrister. His research skills are phenomenal. He is pragmatic, thinks strategically and can really be relied on in a crisis. His advocacy skills are excellent."Legal 500, 2024