East Midlands law firm strengthens licensing team

L to R: David Lucas, Caroline Twist, Jo Soar, Lesleyann Harper

Fraser Brown Solicitors has fortified its long standing licensing team with the promotion of Jo Soar to head of licensing and the addition of licensing executive, Lesleyann Harper.

Jo, who has over 30 years’ experience in licensing across public and private sectors, has taken on the position of head of licensing at Fraser Brown and will be driving the team forward to further success.

A member of the Institute of Licensing, Jo has previously been accredited as a contributor to Paterson’s Licensing Acts and has delivered training on behalf of the Home Office.

Continuing client growth also sees licensing executive Lesleyann Harper return to the team bringing with her eight years of licensing experience complemented by seven years’ experience in the Fraser Brown commercial litigation team, adding value to clients dealing with contentious issues.

Another key member of the team is licensing assistant Caroline Twist having 23 years of experience in licensing and seven years working in the licensed trade.

David Lucas continues to work alongside the team in a consultancy role now providing specialist assistance to the team with expertise relating to Gambling and Licensing.

Since its inception in 2005 following the introduction of the Licensing Act 2003, the team has evolved and now has a mix of prestigious clients ranging from independent operations to iconic sporting venues across the region and other high-profile operators. The licensing team has substantially increased its client base both locally and nationally, expanding its offering to provide specialist advice in gambling law following the introduction of the Gambling Act 2005.

The team is recognised nationally for providing training to councils and police in both licensing and gambling disciplines. Fraser Brown is accredited by the British Institute of Innkeeping Awarding Body (BIIAB), holding a range of courses on a monthly basis including the Award for Personal Licence Holder’s (APLH) course, which continues to attract a wide range of candidates from the hospitality industry.

Significant recent cases include securing a premises licence for a high-profile outdoor event without the need for a hearing; successfully overturning a council decision to suspend a premises licence following an expedited review; the withdrawal of a noise abatement notice served on a large entertainment venue after successful negotiations and enabling an appeal to be subsequently withdrawn; and providing advice and assistance to an international operator providing gambling facilities in high profile leisure parks.

On the success of the team and her new position, Jo Soar, said: “We believe our success is down to positive interaction with clients, providing practical advice and assistance. We understand the needs of our clients and we have built excellent working relationships.

“We have gained respect in our field and engage in effective partnership working with the authorities to achieve the best outcomes and positive results for our clients. The provision of expert gambling advice has also been a key factor in this growth.

“I am delighted to take on the role as head of licensing, which is a natural progression for me and I am very much looking forward to driving the team and building on our success and reputation.  We will continue to work with leading names in the leisure and hospitality industry, building and improving our team to meet the needs of licensing requirements for clients at both a local and national level”.

David Lucas, now in his consultancy role within the team said: “I am pleased to be handing over the role of the head of the team to Jo in recognition of the outstanding work she has done for so many clients over the years. The department is in very safe hands and I look forward to supporting them as they continue to grow.”