This journal is an open access journal. All contents are freely accessible.This paper presents the findings of an empirical project on the operation of the Licensing Act 2003 with specific focus on the application process. It explores the submission of applications, the making of relevant representations (objections), the role of the local authority, and the incidence of negotiation, mediation and enforcement practices. The paper shows the varying extents to which applicants and local residents receive appropriate guidance, reveals the importance of mediation and negotiation in the process, and demonstrates the ‘low key’ nature of enforcement action, with the procedure for ‘reviews’ of licences infrequently utilised. While the adoption of a ‘new governance’ model of regulation in the Licensing Act 2003 has been enthusiastically embraced by participants, uncertainties remain on matters such as who has responsibility for enforcement action and the proper role of the licensing officer in providing appropriate advice to parties.Peer-reviewedPublisher Versio
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