Luscombe Gray can provide first-class legal support to businesses operating in the licensed sector, backed by extensive experience of acting for a number of the UK’s major pub companies and breweries.

With our understanding of your sector, Luscombe Gray can help your business and protect its interests, whether you are a large PLC with a vast estate, an operator with a small portfolio, or an organisation with a single property.

We have a comprehensive knowledge of the issues faced by the industry, allowing us to resolve, and guard against, a wide range of legal disputes which may arise – including those concerning:

  • Landlord and tenant matters
  • The beer tie
  • Enforcement of lease covenants by injunction
  • The Pubs Code
  • Licensing
  • Real property
  • Break notices
  • Insolvency
  • Debt recovery

We recognise how disruptive a disputes can be, that’s why we place your interests, and the interests of your business, at the centre of everything we do for you. We form legal solutions based upon the actual commercial reality you are facing, and fight tenaciously to achieve the best possible outcome for your business.

If you would like to discuss how Luscombe Gray can help your business, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Pub and bar legal issues and disputes

Disputes between landlords and tenants are heavily dependent on the terms under which a tenant occupies licensed premises. It is crucial that businesses in this sector take legal advice on any lease, tenancy agreement, or licence before agreeing to it.

Luscombe Gray can provide expert guidance, negotiating occupational agreements which serve the needs of your business and accommodate any plans you may have to develop in future.

Similarly, if an occupational agreement is due to expire, we can advise you of your options and negotiate terms for continued occupation., This will include full consideration of the impact of the Pubs Code. We have experience of managing lease renewal processes on behalf of large PLCs with estates comprising thousands of properties.

Aside from landlord and tenant disputes , Luscombe Gray can support you in contractual disputes with suppliers, workmen, and other businesses, all of which are crucial to the smooth running of your business.

The beer tie

Many pub tenants are required to comply with the beer tie, where their occupational agreements stipulate that some or all of a pub’s drinks must be bought from a specified supplier.

If such a clause exists, and a tenant is buying outside of the beer tie, the landlord can take legal action. Landlord options include:

Disputes can also arise in relation to the rights of landlords and their agents to access licensed premises to and carry out inspections to monitor compliance with the beer tie.

Whether you are a pub company or brewery looking to enforce the beer tie – or you are a tenant who has bought outside of tie or is unhappy about the manner in which your landlord is carrying out inspections – it is critically important to take expert legal advice.

Luscombe Gray has extensive experience of advising clients in this area. For Landlords looking to ensure the beer tie can be enforced, we are particularly adept at designing bespoke procedures which protect these rights as effectively and painlessly as possible.

The Pubs Code

The Pubs Code is a statutory code which came into force on 21 July 2016 for the purpose of regulating the relationship between tied pub tenants and pub-owning businesses. It applies to all pub-owning businesses with 500 or more tied pubs.

At present, the pub-owning businesses falling within the remit of the Pubs Code are Admiral, EI Group, Greene King, Marston’s, Punch Taverns and Star Pubs and Bars.

It does not apply to their free of tie pubs or managed houses.

The Pubs Code is founded on 2 key principles:

  • Pub-owning businesses are to deal with their tied tenants fairly and lawfully; and
  • Tied tenants should be no worse off than if they were not subject to the beer tie.

The purpose of the Pubs Code is to ensure that tied pub tenants:

  • are provided with the information they need to make informed decisions about taking on a pub or new terms and conditions;
  • have their rent reassessed if they have not received a rent review for 5 years;
  • are able to serve notice in specific circumstances (known as trigger events) to request a market rent only (“MRO”) option, allowing them to go free of tie and pay only a market rent.

An independent Pubs Code Adjudicator is responsible for enforcing the Pubs Code. The adjudicator has powers to resolve individual disputes, award redress to tied pub tenants if a breach of the Pubs Code is found, and investigate widespread abuse of the Pubs Code.

Once a trigger event takes place (for example at a rent review or at renewal of a tenancy), a tied tenant can serve a notice requesting a MRO. The Pubs Code sets out the procedure that the parties must follow, and there is a strict timetable which must be adhered to. In the absence of agreement, the parties can ask the adjudicator to decide the terms of the free of tie tenancy, with an independent assessor to then set the rent.

Luscombe Gray has experience of advising strategically and practically in relation to the Pubs Code and can ensure that your business receives the right advice and support when faced with issues relating to this developing area of law.

Instructing Luscombe Gray

Luscombe Gray is a boutique commercial and property litigation firm, providing a legal service tailored to the needs of our clients.

We believe first-class commercial legal support should be available to all. Whatever the size of your business, we are more than willing to provide our services and put our specialist skill and knowledge at your disposal.

Your case will be handled by Chris Luscombe personally, so you can be certain that your business will be able to call upon the expertise of an experienced commercial and property litigation solicitor. Throughout his career, Chris has helped a wide range of businesses with their commercial and property disputes, from small businesses, to national pub companies, and multi-national telecoms giants.

Luscombe Gray is based in the heart of Yorkshire, in Harrogate, with the reach to assist clients across the country.

If you need legal support from a firm which understands your business sector, contact Luscombe Gray for clear, ethical, expert advice.

Speak with a litigation expert today

Request a Consultation