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Heath Thomas, Partner, Head of Licensing, Regulatory and Tax and Thames Valley Office,

Licensing, Regulatory & Tax

Direct Dial: 03301 075 810
Mobile: 07966 492 929

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A bit about me

From world-famous department stores to local festivals, having the correct licence and understanding its conditions can have a huge impact on what you’re trying to achieve. I help you to get the licences you need to operate, keep you compliant with the law, and provide support when a breach occurs.

I have over 20 years’ experience in the licensing sector, and I share a common goal with my clients – I make sure they can keep delivering unique experiences to their customers. I work with clients across every sector, from restaurant and bar operators to sports clubs, social clubs, hotels, theatres and outdoor events.

When I work with you, consider me part of your business – I’ll get to the heart of what you do to understand how you operate best. I know you’re unavailable during standard office hours, so I’m available whenever you need me to help whenever you need me. I’m passionate about providing expert advice, no matter what challenges you face.

Want to know more?

If you have a licence, it’s critical that you and your staff know the conditions of the licence. Keep any documentation, such as incident records and staff training, up to date and in order in case of any challenges.

In the event of a problem, seek immediate advice. Breaches of licence conditions can have far-reaching implications, and could lead to your licence being revoked.

Have a firm idea of what it is you want to achieve, the nature and style of operation and whether it’s suitable or appropriate for your chosen location.

I want to open a restaurant/bar/club and need a licence to do so. Can you help me?

Yes, we can. We’ve developed relationships across the UK with many councils, licensing authorities and responsible authorities, including police, trading standards, EHO, fire safety and planning authorities. No matter where you’re located, we can help you get it arranged.

An offence has been committed on my premises. Will I lose my licence?

Not necessarily – it depends upon the individual circumstances of the case. Human error often comes into it, and if you can demonstrate that you’ve done all that can be reasonably expected to stay compliant (for example, providing appropriate staff training), then losing your licence is unlikely. We’ve dealt with all range of offences, so we can help no matter what challenge you face.

How much will it cost?

We offer a range of fixed fees for standard matters, and we’ll provide an accurate fee estimate at the outset of any more complicated or contested cases.

Where I work

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latest articles

Key questions and support for hospitality businesses during the Covid-19 outbreak

Do I have to pay my Business Rates? The Government has introduced support for retail,…

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Pubs and restaurants ordered to close

The Government call for all pubs, restaurants, cafes and bars to close from tonight to…

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Business Continuity Plan for HCR

Preparation As the impact of COVID-19 is being felt by people around the world I…

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New Reading office for growing firm

Room for more growth led by client demand is leading Thames Valley law firm Harrison…

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Clients' praise is the best measure of success for Thames Valley law firm

Praise from clients for their legal skills has brought Harrison Clark Rickerbys’ Thames Valley corporate…

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New senior counsel adds invaluable local knowledge to real estate team

Bringing in-depth local knowledge and a commitment to client care to Harrison Clark Rickerbys’ Thames…

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Food labelling to improve under ‘Natasha’s Law’

A bill known as "Natasha's Law" has been introduced by Michael Gove, and is set…

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Illegal cigarettes sale leads to alcohol licence loss

The sale of illegal cigarettes has led to another shop being stripped of its alcohol…

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Children gambling in pubs must be stopped

Gambling by children in pubs is too common, according to the Gambling Commission, whose research…

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Major fine for WHSmith after customer fell through trapdoor in shop

WHSmith had to pay fines and costs of more than £473,000 for health and safety…

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Pub turns food hygiene rating into five stars

A Stourbridge pub came back from being fined £17,000 for 12 food hygiene offences to…

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Health and safety failure leaves worker with head injuries and broken ribs

A worker suffered head injuries and broke three ribs when he slipped and fell heavily…

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Top rankings for legal services to businesses

Recognition of the excellent legal services which Harrison Clark Rickerbys gives to businesses across the…

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Driving school minibuses

There is often much confusion over whether teachers are entitled to drive a school minibus.…

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Pubs’, bars’ and restaurants’ costs to be hit by no-deal Brexit, trade bodies warn

As the Government publishes its first set of technical papers on a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, hospitality…

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Licensees urged to do homework for Freshers’ Week

As thousands of students start their university or college education with Freshers’ Week all over…

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Disruption by drunk passengers leads to call for licensing rule change

More than 200 incidents involving disruptive passengers have been reported in the first six months…

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Disruption by drunk passengers leads to call for licensing rule change

More than 200 incidents involving disruptive passengers have been reported in the first six months…

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Fine for gas company after worker collapses from fumes

A worker without any protective clothing or equipment was overcome by fumes when disposing of…

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Birmingham worst for food hygiene standards

Birmingham topped the list of local authorities with poor food hygiene according to consumer watchdog…

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Custodial sentence for breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

The owner of a wedding venue has been jailed for 20 months following a sentencing…

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Health and safety – the costs of failure

The intention of the Sentencing Council when producing new sentencing guidelines for health and safety…

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HSE Prohibition Notices – Supreme Court decision widens the scope of appeal

A landmark decision by the Supreme Court earlier this year confirms that evidence gathered after…

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Health and safety prosecution

Laura Shirley, an Associate in our Regulatory Team, has secured another excellent result for her…

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Will ‘scores on the doors’ ratings have to be shown in England?

A £5,000 fine for the owner of a Welsh restaurant who failed to display his…

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Custodial Sentence for owner of pizza shop

The owner of a filthy, mice infested pizza shop in Walsall has been jailed for…

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Musician’s case may have far-reaching health and safety implications

A viola player has won a landmark High Court case against the Royal Opera House,…

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£800k in financial penalties following death of scaffolder

A principal contractor and a civil engineering subcontractor have been fined more than £800,000 after…

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Russell Hume in administration after FSA action

Almost 270 jobs are set to be lost as meat supplier Russell Hume, based in…

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Supreme Court clarifies the law on Prohibition and Improvement notice appeals

The Supreme Court’s judgment in HM Inspector of Health and Safety v Chevron North Sea…

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Hundreds of new drivers banned for using mobile phones whilst driving

In March 2017 the punishment for using a mobile telephone whilst driving was doubled to…

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Russell Hume meat sales halted by food hygiene scares

Poor food hygiene practices at Midlands meat wholesaler Russell Hume led Food Standards Agency (FSA)…

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Drink a toast to royal couple with extended pub licensing hours

Opening hours for pubs, clubs, bars and other licensed premises could be extended so that…

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Birmingham restaurant fined £50,000 for using wooden serving boards

A Birmingham restaurant has been fined £50,000 for serving food on unhygienic wooden boards. Birmingham…

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Property developers jailed after death of carpenter

Following on from an article in July, a property developer, who appeared on the Channel 4 show…

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Property developer convicted of manslaughter following a worker’s fall

A millionaire property developer and his site foreman have been found guilty of gross negligence…

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Property Agents beware … increasing financial penalties for failure to manage HMOs

Property agent ESRA Property Services Ltd was fined a total of £16,000, with an additional…

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Hospitality sector calls for EU workers to be protected under Brexit

Brexit should not prevent EU workers, many of whom work in the UK hospitality sector,…

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Gas safety considerations for residential landlords

According to the Gas Safe Register website, unsafe gas appliances have been found in a…

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Peanut allergy case is legal landmark for food safety

A restaurant owner has been imprisoned for the manslaughter of a customer with a peanut…

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High Court case highlights risks of employing illegal workers

Licensees who employ illegal workers can have their premises licences revoked, as a recent judgement…

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