Prior to the Covid-19 crisis, the Courts Service was already taking steps to enable certain licensing work to be carried out remotely.  A pilot online e-licensing scheme was rolled out recently for licensing in Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim and Louth districts.  The pilot scheme allows solicitors to launch, track and pay for licensing applications online.  Ultimately, once the court application is successfully made, it allows for the collection of the relevant court order online also.

The platform which facilitates this is called CSOL (Courts Service Online) and the plan is for it to go nationwide later this year.  A detailed list of the applications which now can be filed online are clearly set out on the Courts Service website.  The next logical step, in light of the Covid-19 crisis, is for the more straight-forward court applications to be heard remotely also.  At Crowley Millar, we are ready for these new developments.

It is likely that certain licensed premises (pubs in particular) will be among the last premises allowed to re-open following the easing of restrictions during the crisis.  In these circumstances, many owners of such premises will find themselves in financial difficulty by that time.  The situation can be more difficult where the owner has leased out his/her premises to a tenant and has received no rent for several months.  Should such a situation arise, the owner of the licensed premises would do well to note that there is no formal mechanism available whereby a landlord can be notified of any attempt by a tenant to sell the liquor license attaching to the premises.

Before the crisis, liquor licenses were passing for a not insignificant amount of money.  The best advice to landlords of licensed premises in such situations is to write to the Customs and Excise section of the Revenue Commissioners informing them of the situation and requesting that they be notified if any attempt is made to extinguish their license.  While not ideal, it confers some sort of protection.

If you wish to discuss these issues further, please do not hesitate to contact Brian Ó Longaigh at [email protected]

Dated 4 June 2020

Crowley Millar Solicitors LLP Disclaimer:  This is a general information note and is intended for information only.  It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for legal or other professional advices.  Such advice should always be taken before acting on any of the matters referenced in this information note.