TLT partner and head of licensing (Scotland) Stephen McGowan today celebrates the publication of his latest book exploring the complex and ever-changing world of alcohol licensing in Scotland.

Aimed at licensing practitioners, solicitors, local authority and police officers, as well as business owners, McGowan on Alcohol Licensing Law in Scotland draws upon Stephen’s real life experience and uses case studies to examine how complex policies are put into practice. It is the first academic textbook dedicated to the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 and its various amendments, since the Act came into force.

The book, which was seven years in the making, follows Stephen’s previous literary successes Local Government Licensing Law in Scotland, which was published in 2012, and Licensing and Gambling Law in Scotland: A Practical Guide, published in 2009.

Stephen credits his “comrades” in the licensing team at TLT for their support, most notably Niall Hassard, who merited a special mention for co-authoring the chapter on occasional licences.

Jack Cummins, licensing director at Hill Brown Licensing, who wrote the foreword, says:

"From my own authorship experience over many years, I am fully seized of the diligence and time commitment required to produce such a substantial text.

“Tackling alcohol licensing's myriad complexities is no easy matter; but Stephen's energy, enthusiasm and expertise have combined to produce a work which admirably succeeds in that endeavour. It is to his great credit that he has managed to dissect and explain those complexities in such a readable fashion."

Stephen McGowan, partner and head of licensing (Scotland) at TLT, says:

“My aim was to write a book that could be understood by both novice and expert, and to encourage the reader to pursue a deeper appreciation of the purpose of the law as well as its practical effect.

“The fact it has taken me seven years to deliver this text is partly down to the amount and pace of change in this very niche area of Scots law, including the amendments under the Coronavirus legislation. It has been written with everyone in the licensing community in Scotland and across the UK in mind, and whilst there is no doubt that the darkest corners of licensing law are often impenetrable, I have tried to shine a light with a dash of personality here and there.

“I leaned heavily on a great many of my fellow licensing practitioners both in private practice and at local authorities in various guises, who helped me in peer review either for the whole text or certain chapters. They have been with me on the journey and I am very grateful for the support of my peers and friends in the licensing community. I hope I have done them all justice.”

TLT's leisure, food and drink team works across all UK jurisdictions and provides a full service to a broad range of businesses, including hotels, bars, clubs, restaurants, major music festivals, pub companies, brewers, distillers and retailers. Licensing partner Matthew Phipps is ranked as a “Star Individual”, and partners Stephen McGowan, Caroline Loudon and Ewen Macgregor have repeatedly been recognised as ‘Leading Individuals’ in the Legal 500 rankings. The firm is acclaimed for its proficiency in licensing work achieving Tier 1 ranking in both England and Scotland.

McGowan on Alcohol Licensing Law in Scotland is available to buy via Edinburgh University Press in hardback, paperback or as an e-book. The official launch event will take place virtually in September and will feature a Q&A with Stephen.

Date published

02 August 2021

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