The European Court will today hear the case of Hemming, the leading case on licensing fees. The case, which has been referred to the European Court by the Supreme Court, concerns the legality of charging up-front licence application fees to include the costs of the later enforcement of the licensing regime. The claimants, represented by Head of Cornerstone Barristers Philip Kolvin QC, say that the practice is contrary to the Services Directive 2006, transposed into UK law by the Provision of Services Regulations 2009.
At the time the case was brought, Westminster City Council charged an annual application fee for the renewal of sex shop licences of £29,102. It has since reduced the fee to £3,288, including enforcement costs.
A decision of the European Court is expected later this year.