Led by licensing and planning barrister Gareth Hughes, Keystone’s licensing team successfully repelled an application for suspension of a premises licence at exclusive Chelsea venue JuJu.

Kensington and Chelsea licensing committee denied the request for suspension of the licence made by the Metropolitan Police on the basis of an alleged affray outside the premises, having spread from an incident inside.

The committee heard that in actual fact customers were outside the club at closing time due to a fire alarm going off. It was submitted that JuJu was not associated with serious disorder which would necessitate an immediate suspension of the licence closing the premises immediately. Whilst some of the language used by customers towards police was somewhat inappropriate, none of them had committed any crime or wrongdoing within the premises and had been attending a 25th birthday party celebration.

The Committee commented on its decision that:

“It accepted many of the submissions made by the Police and understood why they had concerns about what had happened. However, the Committee recognised that the focus for interim steps should be on the immediate measures that are necessary to prevent serious crime or serious disorder occurring, pending the hearing of the full review. The Committee have also considered the impact on the PLH if the licence were to be suspended at this time of the year when a large number of bookings have been made."

It went on:

“insufficient evidence had been presented to the Committee to justify the suspension of the licence pending a full review."

Located on the famous Kings Road, the award winning JuJu Chelsea has secured its place as one of the most premium cocktail bars and nightclubs in London and is a firm favourite with celebrities and regulars from the local area. The venue has also been featured many times on reality TV show Made in Chelsea.It has also been runner up and winner of the Kensington and Chelses Best Bar None scheme over several years.

Following on from the decision Gareth commented:

“This was a fantastic initial result for JuJu which allows the premises to operate during one of the busiest times of the year- Valentines celebrations where bookings are high All too often evidence is taken at face value by committees when it comes to police testimony, this outcome highlights the importance of holding off from requesting suspension raight away.

“The Committee very carefully heard this initial application and allowed full discussion of all the issues surrounding the events of 3rd February and in my submission, adopted a very balanced approach

“We still have to attend a full review hearing in March but this decision rejecting the nuclear option on interim measures namely suspension is proportionate and sensible”

The success comes following the firm’s recent shortlist slot for Legal 500 Firm of the Year in relation to its licensing activity.