BOYLE v Haverhill, Exclusion - Judicial Review
The reason that PBCRP is independent from the authorities is detailed below......... The application for judicial review was brought by Haverhill builder, Francis Boyle, following a decision taken by the participants of the Haverhill pubwatch scheme to extend by two years a ban imposed on him from all licensed premises taking part in the scheme.
His Honour Judge Mackie QC noted that the responsible operators of licensed premises in an area have always shared information and discussed matters of common interest, particularly questions of safety and compliance with the law, but in recent years these relationships have developed and become known as pubwatch schemes. He observed that an important function of these schemes is to share information about actual or potential troublemakers and make individual and collective decisions to refuse entry to those persons in their premises.
The case considered an issue of crucial importance not only the licensed trade, but also to local authorities and the Police who support and encourage the formation of local pubwatch schemes.
JD Wetherspoon joined the proceedings as an interested party to seek clarification of the circumstances, if any, that such schemes can be said to be exercising “functions of a public nature” and thereby making them amenable to judicial review. JD Wetherspoon recognised that the impact of a ruling that such schemes are susceptible to judicial review would have far-reaching implications for the licensed trade. In particular, it would mean that it would no longer be acceptable for a banning decision to be made simply on the basis of information provided by an individual licensee or the Police without first giving the person affected the opportunity to make representations and conducting the hearing and decision-making process on a much more formal footing.
Following argument by J D Wetherspoon’s counsel the Judge held that individual licensees have an unrestricted right to exclude anyone, particularly those who they see as troublemakers from their premises. Similarly, individual licensees have the right to exclude those whom others have found to be troublemakers. Furthermore, licensees are entitled to form groups or associations to pool information and discuss matters of common interest and make the exclusion of potential troublemakers more organised and systematic.
'HE CONCLUDED THAT THE ONLY BASIS FOR AN ARGUMENT THAT SUCH BANNING DECISIONS ARE AMENABLE TO JUDICIAL REVIEW LIES IN THE DEGREE OF INVOLVEMENT OF THE PUBLIC AUTHORITY AND THE POLICE. IN CONSIDERING WHAT LEVEL OF POLICE INVOLVEMENT WOULD KEEP THE OPERATION WITHIN THE PRIVATE SPHERE, HIS HONOUR NOTED THAT HE WOULD NOT EXPECT THAT THE OPERATIONS OF A PARTICULAR PUBWATCH SCHEME WOULD BE OPEN TO JUDICIAL REVIEW IF THE ROLE OF THE POLICE AND OTHER PUBLIC BODIES WAS LIMITED TO THAT OF ADVICE AND SUPPORT'.
All pubwatches should be grateful for the actions of J D Wetherspoon in taking on this case as it will reduce the scope for further applications to challenge the decisions of Pubwatches.
The ‘Sting in the Tale’ for Mr Boyle is that the court will now consider costs and compensation against him. A costly challenge without merit may well be the outcome as far as he is concerned.