Duncan Craig

Year Of Call: 

Duncan Craig is Head of the Citadel Chambers Licensing team, having practised as a barrister in that field since 2013.   Prior to call to the Bar, Duncan had a twenty-year career in the licensed trade, including a ten-year period where he owned and operated various bars and restaurants in Nottingham, employing over 120 people.  He is the only practising licensing lawyer with this level of trade experience.    Duncan lives and works in Birmingham, and since 2013 he has represented and advised many of the leading independent operators in the city. He takes instructions anywhere in England in Wales and routinely conducts hearings up and down the country.  He has recently completed an exchange visit to New York to Helbraun and Levey, the leading licensing attorneys in that city, to widen his understanding of licensing law.


Practice details  

He is approved by the Bar Council under the Direct Access scheme, and in suitable cases welcomes instructions directly from members of the public, companies or trade organisations.  He is also authorised by the Bar Council to conduct litigation.   Please see the Direct Access section of this website, or contact Chambers clerks, for further information.


Alcohol licensing and late night refreshment

Duncan has appeared before local councils in licensing matters in various parts of the country, representing the operators of licensed premises in applications under the Licensing Act 2003.   He has extensive experience in cases involving new licence applications, applications to vary licences, reviews and expedited reviews, plus preliminary hearings and appeals in the Magistrates’ Courts.  His background means he is readily able to grasp the issues and devise workable solutions :  if possible his preparation for any hearing will include a visit to the premises.

Recent instructions

  • represented a Northampton off-licence in review proceedings relating to illegal immigrants at the premises
  • represented a Birmingham nightclub, a street event for over 8,000 people
  • instructed by a Birmingham licensed massage establishment : the local authority refused to renew its licence following allegations of the premises being used for immoral purposes
  • instructed by the organiser of a major food and drink festival in the West Midlands
  • represented an East Midlands off-licence in relation to sale of nitrous oxide from the premises, including associated criminal proceedings
  • instructed by a Birmingham nightclub, health and safety prosecution following a person falling from a roof

Notable cases have included

  • summary review proceedings, represented a Birmingham nightclub.  A loaded firearm had been found at the premises following an alleged stabbing :  the licence was preserved with additional conditions
  • review hearing following proceedings brought by Lincolnshire Police, illegal immigrants working in a Grantham restaurant :  licence preserved with no additional conditions. Lincolnshire Police appealed but withdrew appeal following submission of skeleton argument lodged on behalf of the restaurant
  • represented a Tower Hamlets convenience store :  licence revoked following seizure of illicit tobacco and alcohol - described by local authority as the “worst on record”. Following extensive discussions with the local authority, agreement was reached, resolved by way of a Consent Order, additional conditions to licence
  • represented a Burton-on-Trent bar, Staffordshire Police sought review and revocation of the licence, and had objected to two TEN applications.  Following submissions, TEN objections were rejected on the basis of a failure by Staffordshire Police to comply with the legislative requirements.  No steps taken against the premises
  • represented a North-West restaurant in appeal proceedings following revocation of licence : a large cannabis farm had been found in an associated building belonging to the proprietor.   Appeal settled by way of consent order and proprietor allowed back on the establishment to operate the business
  • represented long-established Birmingham late night entertainment and function venue following revocation of licence for public nuisance :  following a four-day appeal hearing, appeal allowed
  • represented a Northamptonshire brewer in relation to second drink drive conviction, and subsequent correspondence with local authority in relation to his personal licence under new powers available under the Licensing Act since April 2017.  Licence was not revoked
  • represented a Lincolnshire off-licence in an appeal following the revocation of its premises licence after seizure of a large quantity of illicit cigarettes and spirits.  Appeal allowed
  • in separate cases involving breaches of conditions, preserved licences on appeal hearings for Southend 24-hour off-licence, and Islington off-licence
  • represented a Stoke on Trent premises licence holder, appeal against refusal to transfer premises licence into his name.  Appeal allowed, and costs awarded
  • separate cases in Waltham and Tower Hamlets, off-licence premises licences had been revoked following discovery of large quantity of tobacco and spirits. Appeals settled by way of consent order and licences remained intact
  • in separate cases involving sale of alcohol to minors, licences which had been revoked following sale of alcohol to minors were preserved on appeal  (Dudley convenience store, Southwark off-licence), Tamworth bar owner who had been convicted of selling alcohol to a minor was acquitted at Crown Court appeal with costs award in his favour, and prosecution of Telford off-licence premises licence holders resulted in modest fine and order to pay only part of prosecution costs
  • Newham off-licence whose application to vary hours on its premises licence had been refused.  Appeal settled by way of consent order including provision for additional hours
  • instructed by Nantwich late night refreshment premises against East Cheshire District Council in appeal against refusal to extend licensable hours.  Appeal allowed, and costs awarded
  • represented Wolverhampton off-licence in appeal, allegations of sexual assault against the DPS led to a review and revocation of the licence.   Resolved by way of Consent Order and the licence was preserved
  • Enfield convenience store,  challenging surrender of licence.  Following written submissions to local authority, surrender was withdrawn
  • represented local residents seeking to curtail opening hours on new £1 million premises in Harrogate.  Trading hours were curtailed, and conditions imposed on the licence
  • represented a Manchester off-licence in contractual dispute with franchise company on the grounds of misrepresentation :  settlement reached via mediation
  • represented a Builth Wells public house, complaints relating to noise during the Royal Welsh Show.  Reached agreement with local residents and environmental health prior to hearing
  • Andover late night refreshment venue, Hampshire Police objected to removal of conditions. Following discussion with police, agreement was reached
  • instructed by Leicester public house in revocation appeal : settled with local council by way of Consent Order
  • represented a Salford convenience store in dispute with Post Office.  Settlement reached via mediation
  • represented a Stoke-on-Trent off-licence, premises licence revoked for selling illicit alcohol.  Licence granted following review hearing
  • represented two members of the public who sought review against a public house in Worcester on the grounds of crime and disorder.  The DPS was removed and further conditions were imposed on the licence
  • represented an East Midlands bar owner charged with nine offences under the Licensing Act 2003.   Client was acquitted on seven charges in the Magistrates’ Court, and won his appeal against the remaining two charges in the Crown Court, with costs award in his favour
  • represented a Stoke-on-Trent DPS who, following death of a customer at his premises, had been prosecuted for fraud and two charges under the Licensing Act 2003.  Following legal argument, prosecution eventually offered no evidence
  • represented Matlock public house licence holders, private prosecution for illegal broadcasting of Sky Sports.  Following guilty pleas, modest fine and order to pay only part of prosecution costs
  • instructed by Birmingham city centre nightclub, prosecution under Town and Country Planning Act
  • represented Islington off-licence in relation to sale of knife to a minor
  • represented Birmingham Desi sweet shop following food safety prosecution for rat infestation


Taxi licensing

Duncan has appeared before local councils in taxi licensing matters in various parts of the country, representing hackney cab and private hire vehicle drivers, and private hire operators.   He is also instructed in taxi licensing appeals in the Magistrates' Court and Crown Court, and in the trials of taxi-related offences such as unlicensed plying for hire, driving without a private hire licence, driving without insurance and perverting the course of justice.   

Recent instructions

  • Warrington taxi driver whose licence had been suspended following alleged assault on passenger which was caught on CCTV
  • Birmingham private hire driver, allegations of sexual misconduct with a passenger
  • instructed to advise an association of Stoke-on-Trent taxi drivers in relation to local authority’s Taxi guidance
  • instructed by several West Midlands private hire operators to provide advice and guidance in relation to the 2015 Deregulation Act
  • instructed by a Midlands private hire operator to provide advice following loss of a significant tender
  • Bolton private hire driver whose licence had been revoked following historic domestic violence allegations

Notable cases have included

  • represented a Stoke-on-Trent taxi driver who had pleaded guilty to plying for hire. Guilty plea vacated, and prosecution discontinued
  • represented a Stoke-on-Trent taxi driver following revocation of licence, allegations of sexual activity with a fifteen-year old girl.  Appeal allowed, and costs awarded
  • Birmingham private hire driver, licence revoked following conviction for assaulting his wife and the imposition of a restraining order. Appeal allowed
  • Warrington taxi driver whose application for a dual badge had been refused due to six previous convictions.  Appeal allowed, and costs awarded
  • Birmingham private hire driver prosecuted for plying for hire, acquitted and costs awarded
  • Birmingham private hire driver, licence had been suspended following driving incident. Appeal allowed, and costs awarded
  • Case Stated in the High Court in relation to duress
  • represented a Worcester private hire driver at Magistrates’ Court following the revocation of his Hackney/PHV Licence by the Licensing Sub-Committee. Appeal allowed, and costs awarded
  • represented a driver with a dual badge in his appeal at Shrewsbury Crown Court, licence revoked following a conviction for an offence of violence
  • represented a Birmingham private hire operator in criminal proceedings, allegations of failing to co-operate with the DWP.  Following service of defence case statement and disclosure request, the prosecution discontinued the proceedings
  • represented a private hire driver, appeal at Winchester Crown Court.  Appeal allowed following a day of legal argument
  • represented a Worcester private hire driver following accumulation of penalty points : allowed to keep his badge with a warning from the sub-committee
  • represented a Warrington private hire driver following allegations of discrimination against a disabled passenger
  • instructed by a private hire driver in his appeal at Walsall Magistrates’ Court :  local authority’s case was dismissed at the conclusion of their evidence
  • represented a Birmingham private hire operator defending a claim against provider of telephone system to their base.  Claimant’s appeal struck out with costs awarded to the defendant
  • represented a Bolton private hire operator in sui generis change of use planning application, granted



Duncan has a good working knowledge of regulatory matters especially Health and Safety, Food Standards and Trading Standards.    He has practical experience in writing, implementing, reviewing and updating risk assessments related to those fields, and can call upon his trade experience of dealing with Environmental Health Officers and Local Authorities in various parts of the country.  



More information about Duncan can be found on his personal website, at http://www.licensingbarrister.co.uk/