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Licensing hearing panels

The licensing hearing panel consists of three councillors who will decide an application where relevant representations have been received. All responsible authorities and interested parties (which includes people who have made representations or objections to an application) are informed by letter about when and where the hearing will take place.

If you are an interested party and have been advised of the hearing by the Licensing team, please let the team know if you are coming to the hearing or not and whether you are bringing witnesses. The team will then send out an agenda outlining the application, the representations received and the format of the hearing.

If an applicant is unable to attend

A hearing may take place without the licensee/applicant and will ultimately be the decision of the panel to continue with a hearing or adjourn the hearing. After the licensing hearing has taken place, the applicant is notified in writing of the panel's decision. They have the opportunity to appeal to the magistrates court against the panel's decision within 21 days.

Who can attend a licensing hearing?

People arriving for the hearing will be asked to wait outside until the licensing panel is ready to hear the case. Those attending the hearing will include:

  • a Medway Council lawyer;
  • a member of staff from the council's Licensing Unit;
  • a member of staff from the council's Committee Section to take notes;
  • the applicant, their representative (usually a solicitor) and witnesses to support their case;
  • any objectors or responsible authorities who have submitted representations and who want to state their case in person before the panel and any witnesses to support their cases.

The procedure of the hearing

The chairman is in charge of the proceedings. The following sequence of events is for guidance but individual hearings may differ:

  • the chairman explains the format for the meeting and asks everyone to introduce themselves;
  • the licensing officer outlines the application;
  • the applicant (or their representative) speaks in support of their application and calls witnesses;
  • objectors ask the applicant (or their representative) and witnesses questions;
  • members of the panel ask the applicant (or their representative) and witnesses questions;
  • objectors speak about their representation and call any witnesses;
  • the applicant (or their representative) asks the objectors questions;
  • members of the panel ask questions;
  • the chairman asks everyone if they want to add anything further;
  • the chairman asks everyone to leave the room while the panel reaches a decision - the council's lawyer and committee note-taker remain;
  • once a decision has been made, everyone is invited to come back in to hear it, although for complex applications, the panel may decide to give its decision later.


You can appeal against a decision made by the licensing hearing panel.


For more information contact Licensing Unit by telephone: Licensing Services - 01634 337107 or 337108 / Enforcement - 01634 337112 or 337106 or by email: licensing@medway.gov.uk

Write to: Licensing Unit, Medway Council, Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham, Kent ME4 4TR