Jersey Royal Court Decisions

In the matter of the [liquor] licence held by Salt & Pepper Pots Limited in respect of the Marina Metro Hotel [2020]JRC242

Salt & Pepper Pots Limited was the Licensee in respect of a bar at the Marina Metro Hotel. It was a condition of the Licensee’s liquor licence that no dancing was permitted on the licenced premises except by persons residing in the Marina Metro Hotel and their guests, unless by permission of the Bailiff. Furthermore, the public health guidance related to COVID-19 also applied to the licenced premises.

The Court was provided with clear evidence of the Licencee’s “prolonged disregard for [COVID-19] guidance notwithstanding repeated attempts by the Police as well as Health and Safety Officers asking for compliance, because… it was inconvenient and did not suit the Licensee’s business”. This included breaches of the COVID-19 health guidance such as allowing the following:

  • customers drinking other than while seat at a table;
  • customers being served at the bar and waiting at the bar for tables to be ready;
  • lack of social distancing;
  • more than 40 people (the maximum limit for the licenced premises) to gather together;
  • dancing; and
  • loud music.

It was held by the Court that the Licensee had breached the guidance and had not protected the public in the way that it should. The Court imposed a fine of £20,000, however the Court chose not to suspend the Licensee’s Licence due to the fact that there was some indication of improvement since the Licensee gave assurances that it would do its best to comply with the guidance going forward.

Action Point:

It is important to remember that the government’s public health guidance relating to COVID-19 is not voluntary, and that every registered manager is required to be familiar with the conditions of their Licences. Otherwise businesses will risk prosecution for failure to protect the public.

Simon John Richardson v The Minister for the Environment and Michael James [2020] JRC232

Mr Richardson owned a property which was adjoined by the property of Mr James. Mr James had applied for and was granted planning permission to redevelop a lodging house into three flats, such development including two new balconies on the first and second floors respectively. Before the planning permission was granted, Mr Richardson, who had objected to the plans on the basis that his property’s privacy would be impaired by the two balconies in particular, was assured by a planning official that he would be kept informed. However, Mr Richardson was not informed of the decision to grant planning permission until after the 28 day time limit for appeal had expired, and after development works had started. Mr Richardson applied for permission to appeal out of time.

It was held by the Royal Court that, due to the planning department’s failure to publish its original planning decision and its failure to inform Mr Richardson of its decision as promised, Mr Richardson’s appeal would be allowed.

The reasons for the Court’s decision rested mainly on the fact that Mr Richardson was not at fault for failing to submit his appeal on time; rather the fault lay with the planning department. The judge did however emphasise in his judgment that he had “every sympathy for Mr James” who was not at fault either and would likely suffer financial losses as a result of the appeal being allowed.

Action Point:

This case is a reminder of the Court’s discretion to allow planning and third party planning appeals out of time, provided that the applicant’s right to use, enjoy, and own their property is affected, and that they have done all that they can to bring the appeal within the prescribed time limited. It is worth bearing this risk in mind before commencing development, even after the time limit for appeals has expired.

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