Gareth is a skilled barrister who acts for an impressive portfolio of clients in the hospitality and entertainment sectors on both licensing and planning matters. He regularly acts as an advocate on behalf of clients before licensing committees all over the country and on appeal to the Magistrates’ Court, having dealt with cases right up to the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords on major points of law.
With over 25 years’ experience acting for many of the leading companies and individuals in the hospitality sector he has built up a significant network of relationships with elected councillors, council officers and police as well as residents groups particularly in the City of Westminster.
Leading clients include: the South Bank Centre (largest performance and arts centre in western Europe with 29 million visitors a year); Devonshire Square Club (large-scale private members hotel and club); The Curtain Hotel (Gansevoort Hotel group New York); Pho Restaurants, Beaufort House, Kings Road; Grange Hotels; Chinawhite; Kitts Nightclub; Cipriani; Mark Hix Restaurants; Guards Polo Club; Ministry of Sound; The Arts Club, ETM Group (including The Botanist, Sloane Square, Canada Square; The Gun) Barts Club, Chelsea; and Royal National Theatre.
He also acts for landlords seeking to protect their interests when there are difficulties with operators. Notably, Gareth has recently acted on behalf of the French government in a major planning application in Kensington and Chelsea. Gareth also has experience acting for local authorities, the police and residents.
As well as being a regular speaker at conferences around the UK, Gareth is an active Fellow of and Member of Board of Management – Institute of Licensing. He is also a member of the Society for the Study of Gambling, the British Institute of Innkeeping, and Business in Sport and Leisure.
Extremely efficient, knowledgeable and reliable as well as personable and good to work with. He is commercially minded, very well connected and always secures results for us.
Director, ETM Group
An experienced and determined licensing practitioner who is known and respected by all sides of the industry
Legal 500 2017
- Licensing – working on all aspects (bars, restaurants, entertainment) of very large developments including South Bank Centre, Devonshire Square Club, Curtain Hotel and outdoor concert festival
- Planning – primarily working on large and small-scale developments related particularly to the hospitality sector including restaurants, bars, hotels, and private members clubs
- Environmental health law
- Film Classification – complex and difficult hearings in front of Westminster City Council for film companies securing a satisfactory classification for film release
- Street trading
- Sexual entertainment venues – particularly complex and highly contested applications in difficult licensing authority areas
- Political – great knowledge of the workings of local and central government, having been an elected councillor and having run for Parliament in 2010
- Acting for the Indian, French and Russian governments in a major planning application in Kensington and Chelsea (now in the Court of Appeal)
- Acting for Devonshire Club (a large private members’ hotel and restaurant in the heart of the City of London) on the grant of a premises licence in 2016
- Acting for L’Escargot (one of the oldest restaurants in Soho) in several applications
- Acting for Curtain Hotel (a very large hotel in Shoreditch owned by Gansevoort Hotel Group from New York City, able to host up to 1,800 people and including a private members’ club in the basement, a large ground-floor restaurant, a conference suite, 220 rooms, a rooftop terrace, and pool area) on the grant of a premises licence in 2016
- Acting for Hayward Gallery on an application for planning permission from Westminster City Council for a pop-up exhibition space in a disused building on The Strand in London
Please note: The experience list above may include examples of work completed prior to joining Keystone Law.
Recognised in Chambers UK 2023 for Licensing
“Gareth Hughes has strong interpersonal skills, high-level intelligence and pays great attention to detail.” Chambers UK 2023
“In this area of expertise there is no one more qualified.” Chambers UK 2023
Recognised in The Legal 500 as a Leading Individual for Licensing (2020-2023)
Recognised in The Legal 500 2023 for Real Estate: Planning
“Gareth Hughes is vastly experienced.” The Legal 500 2023
Recognised by Best Lawyers (UK) in the practice area of Licensing Practice 2023
Recognised in Chambers UK 2022 for Licensing
“He is a formidable advocate.” Chambers UK 2022
“He has encyclopaedic knowledge, and is personable and efficient.” Chambers UK 2022
“Gareth Hughes continues to be excellent to work with, achieving deadlines with efficiency and professionalism. His knowledge of licensing is outstanding and I would have no hesitation in working with him again or recommending him to others.” The Legal 500 2022
Recognised by Chambers UK 2021 for Licensing
Noted for achieving ‘excellent results‘, especially when advising nightclubs, off-licences and events. The Legal 500 2021
“Gareth Hughes is not only an expert in his field, he is a fine and fluent advocate.” The Legal 500 2021
Gareth Hughes draws on his extensive experience in planning matters to represent key London bars, hotels and entertainment venues in an array of complex licensing issues. His clients say: “He has great understanding and is very strategic in terms of how he approaches challenges.” Chambers UK 2020
Gareth Hughes of Keystone Law is a consultant barrister who draws on notable experience in representing major hospitality clients before licensing committees. “It’s not only his knowledge of the law, but he also knows the right people and knows how to get things done,” enthuses a source. Chambers UK 2019
Recognised as a Leading Individual by the Legal 500 2018 for Licensing
“First class” Legal 500 2018
Gareth Hughes is a consultant barrister at Keystone Law who draws on notable experience in representing major hospitality clients before licensing committees. Interviewees describe him as a “natural advocate” who is “formidable in licensing law.” Chambers UK 2018
Gareth Hughes is recognised by the Legal 500 2017 for Planning and Licensing.
“An experienced and determined licensing practitioner who is known and respected by all sides of the industry” Legal 500 2017
Chairman of the London Institute of Licensing
Gareth Hughes of Keystone Law’s recent work includes successfully obtaining an extension to the opening hours of restaurant Absolutely Starving, amid opposition from the police and Lambeth council. Clients confirm that he “has always been excellent when doing work for us.” Chambers UK 2017
“’Very good’ practitioner Gareth Hughes provides deep expertise and experience in licensing matters. His recent clients include prominent London hotels, nightclubs and entertainment venues. Chambers UK 2016
Legal 500 described Gareth as “vastly experienced” in this area and ranked him in the top ten of licensing lawyers in London.
“Gareth Hughes is also recommended, and continues to act for the Southbank Centre.” Legal 500 2015
“ … a barrister who sources say ‘is very commanding – he does a lot of advocacy himself – and has a great knowledge of the law.’ He led an appeal against a decision to refuse a late licence for his client, the Tramshed, a new restaurant in Shoreditch. Following successful advocacy at the appeal, the licence was granted and the restaurant has now opened.” Chambers UK 2013
“With ‘top-notch’ industry knowledge … The ‘extremely good’ Gareth Hughes provided licensing advice to Pho restaurants on its expansion across the UK, and obtained a licence for an outdoor festival in Clapham …’ Legal 500, 2013
Gareth qualified as a barrister in 1984. Prior to joining Keystone Law in 2016, he worked at the following firms:
- Jeffrey Green Russell
- Goldsmiths Buildings