Philip Kolvin QC: Licensing Lawyer Legal advice & representation

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Sex Licensing


Philip Kolvin QC is a leading expert in the law relating to sex establishments.

This includes lap-dancing clubs, strip-tease, gentlemen’s clubs, sex shops and sex cinemas.

He acted as the legal advisor and spokesperson for the feminist lobby groups Object and the Fawcett Society in their successful Parliamentary campaign to tighten the law on lap-dancing, which resulted in the Policing and Crime Act 2009.

On the other side of the debate, he has a highly successful track record for operators in this field.

He succeeded in obtaining a new licence for Platinum Lace in Leicester Square against the opposition of the police and licensing authority. He also obtained a late night alcohol licence for Platinum Lace in Westminster’s cumulative impact area, in nearby Coventry Street.

He has also had notable successes in preserving licences for operators in Bournemouth, Southampton, Bristol and Manchester, amongst others, following alleged compliance breaches.
For licensing authorities, he has played a leading role in the development of nil and numbers limitation policies, including in the City of London, Camden, Coventry and Leeds, following detailed public consultation exercises which he helped to design.

Acting for the London Borough of Camden, Philip successfully resisted a sex licensing appeal by Spearmint Rhino, in relation to its flagship Tottenham Court road venue.
Philip has often been asked to advise on whether “fringe” activities, such as massage parlours, topless bars and swingers’ clubs are governed by sex licensing laws.

Philip acted for the West End sex shop industry in the important case of Hemming. He successfully argued in the Court of Appeal that European law stopped licensing authorities charging fees which are higher than the costs of the licensing process itself. The appeal was heard in the Supreme Court in 2015 and is now on its way to the European Court. It is the first licensing case to reach either of those courts.

I just wanted to say a huge thank you for all your efforts in getting us to a successful conclusion at the appeal. Getting you on board was perhaps the defining moment. I have many good licensing lawyer friends and they all called me to say we had the right man for the job..

Nightclub Chief Executive