Any person may object to court against an application for renewal of a licence to the Revenue Commissioners in respect of premises based on the unfitness of the premises. Significant prior notice is required.
The licence remains in force for a year and must be renewed. The renewal is granted to the same person for the same premises by the Revenue Commissioner. A certificate is no longer required, unless a notice for objection has been lodged, the holder ceases to be a resident in the country or cannot be found or where it is proposed to insert a Sunday closing or early closing condition.
Under the 1986 Act, an objection for renewal may be made by any person, who have been authorised to object before the making of that Act namely, the Superintendent of an Garda Síochána or Inspector in his absence, a member of the community, or the District Court on its own knowledge.
An objection may be made for the renewal in the name of the nominee, if it is established that the nominee has not had an active role in the affairs of the company of the premises sold to be
answerable for breaches of the licensing law.
Where the licence has expired, an application is made within one year, it may grant to the applicant a certificate for renewal and the applicant is deemed the holder of the lowest estate.
The application is not granted if the holder objects or the applicant is not suitable. Where the holder of a licence to whom a transfer or renewal was granted above, applies to court for a certificate required for renewal, he is deemed to hold the lowest estate or tenancy.
The Licensing (Ireland) Act 1833 deals with objections to the granting of on-licences. Any inhabitant of the parish or health authority in whose functional area the licensed house is situate, may give notice those to the County Registrar objecting to the grant of a new licence. This may be founded on
character, misconduct, unfitness of the applicant,
unfitness or inconvenience of the house or premises,
number of previously licensed premises in the neighbourhood.
The court considers the validity of the objection and may for that purpose examine the applicant on oath. The objecting person must be an inhabitant of the parish. Different provisions apply in other contexts. The Garda Superintendent of the District may object. The fire authority must be given notice and it may appear and give evidence in any such application.
The objection must be an objection in substance. Unfitness does not necessarily imply character. It involves the person’s ability to carry on the trade of a licensed premises. He must know how the trade is carried out. He must intend to supervise the business.
The unfitness or convenience of the premises includes in particular the possibility of exercising police control and supervision. Suitability includes everything arising from the locality.
Objections on the grounds of unfitness are generally one for the health authority. The fire authority may object, if the premises are unsuitable based on fire safety considerations.
The excessive number of previously licensed premises in the neighbourhood may be a valid ground in certain cases in respect of a premises previously unlicensed. The court has no jurisdiction to consider an objection in the case of transfer of a premises which is already licensed.
The application Where the licence has expired, an application is made within one year, it may grant to the applicant a certificate for renewal and the applicant is deemed the holder of the lowest estate.
is not granted if the holder objects or the applicant is not suitable. Where the holder of a licence to whom a transfer or renewal was granted above, applies to court for a certificate required for renewal, he is deemed to hold the lowest estate or tenancy.
In the absence of evidence that trade has been carried on in the previous year, the District Judge has no jurisdiction to issue a certificate in relation to the business having been carried on in a peaceful and orderly manner. The Circuit Court has allowed renewal, where no trade has been carried out for reasons outside the licensee’s control such as the destruction of the premises by fire.
In a case where trade was only carried on for one day, the High Court held that the District Judge was correct in holding that it is not carried on within the last year. However, the temporary abandonment of the premises during the course of the year would not negate the carrying on of the trade for this purpose.
The licence cannot be renewed in the name of a deceased person.
If a licence lapses a renewal may be obtained within six months of its expiry.
The refusal to serve a person lawfully entitled to be served may be a ground for objection.
Evidence of breaches by previous tenants are admissible in relation to the character of the premises.
Where an objection is made orall,y its nature need not be stated so long as a formal objection is made. However its nature must be shown in the written notice served for the adjourned hearing.