Nicola Smith specialises in regulatory compliance. Her expertise is broad ranging and covers alcohol and entertainment licensing, food and feed law, and general product compliance, safety and recall. Nicola also specialises in road vehicle/driver laws, including public inquiries before traffic commissioners.

    Nicola acts for a wide range of businesses, from listed companies to entrepreneurs, and she represents clients in enforcement action, including at interviews under caution, as well as hearings. She prides herself on providing commercially minded advice as part of a “one-stop shop” for clients dealing with the management of all of their licensing and food law issues, or with their other regulatory requirements around products and the operation of goods vehicles.

    Nicola provides support on corporate, property and insolvency transactions, as well as advises on the licences required for the playing of copyright music. Nicola is experienced in reviewing and advising upon due diligence systems and has drafted operations manuals and compliance documents for numerous clients following such reviews.

    Nicola has also provided training at both a legal and operational level, including general updates and training on specific changes in law. She has trained numerous managers on licensing requirements, including inspections, test purchases and even conducting mock interviews. Nicola has also presented on the management of global product recalls. In addition, she has provided training and advice to clients and externally on food law requirements, including in relation to allergen laws and the impact of Brexit on labelling requirements, as well as presenting twice to representatives of the Chinese Food and Drug Enforcement Agency visiting the UK to understand the application of medicines and food and drink laws. In addition, Nicola has written for the Food edition of the American Bar Association (ABA) publication on recalls due to labelling errors, as well as authoring numerous practice notes on alcohol licensing for LexisPSL.

    Nicola has successfully represented clients at numerous contested hearings across the country, including for the grant of licences in cumulative impact zones (in the fact of numerous residential objections) and for applications that are contested by the police. She has also dealt with threatened and actual licence reviews, including a review following three test purchase failures, where the committee were nevertheless persuaded that the licence should not be revoked or suspended.

    Nicola writes client updates on topical legal issues for the licensed trade in England and Wales and is a member of the Institute of Licensing.

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    • Contested licence application hearings nationwide, including in Westminster, Islington, City of London, Camden, Cardiff, Wolverhampton, Fareham, Preston and many others.
    • Review hearing for a licensed premises in South Yorkshire following a series of failed test purchases. The clients volunteered additional conditions on our advice at the hearing and avoided any suspension or revocation of the licence.
    • Appeals to Magistrates Courts against decisions of Licensing Committees, including successfully appealing conditions imposed on off-licence by Liverpool Committee.
    • Training to EU legal team of global catering company on food law including EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation and Food Safety Law.
    • Various enforcement matters, including investigations into failed test purchases and representing clients in subsequent PACE interviews; dealing with voluntary closure requests from police and negotiating various conditions to avoid formal review of the licence; and agreeing reduction of closure period in respect of police closure notice for underage sale.
    • Advising on and obtaining licensing approval for multimillion-pound re-developments of arenas, including agreeing strategy for licensing of phases of project to ensure proper coverage throughout works and on completion.
    • Advising on reporting obligations and due diligence procedures following horsemeat scandal.
    • Management of licensed estate of more than 60 hotels nationwide to include all applications for premises and personal licences.
    • Applications for a wide variety of premises, from offices to universities to museums and galleries on behalf of a contract catering company.
    • Advising US-based manufacturer of energy drink on labelling requirements in the EU, national requirements in the UK and Ireland, and checks on draft labels for Germany.
    • Advising retailer on recall of chocolate bar contaminated with plastic.
    • Advising a vending machine operator on food labelling requirements on impulse machines and hot drink machines, including in relation to allergens.
    • Advising on various matters, including labelling, risks and liabilities under Food Information Regulations, rules on additives and irradiated ingredients, marketing terms, requirements for notification to the FSA, withdrawal and/or recall.
    • Advising US-based supplier and European subsidiary on labelling requirements for various CBD product types, including food supplements, pet products and cosmetics, and advice to UK drinks manufacturer on use of CBD as an ingredient, including in relation to “novel food” status.
    • Advice to German-based producer on UK laws as part of cross jurisdiction advice on food labelling (natural claims) managed from Germany.
    • Advising independent drinks producer on potential liability for protected geographical indications.
    • Dealing with contested application for Betting Office Premises Licence under Gambling Act 2005 in Westminster.
    • Licensing due diligence in connection with purchase of music festival, as well as due diligence and drafting clauses for sale agreements, leases and other commercial documents for many other transactions.
    • Advising administrators on the effects of insolvency of a premises licence holder, completing security reviews with regard to licensed premises and submitting interim authority and transfer applications following insolvency. Also providing training to administrators on dealing with licensing issues on insolvency.


    • De Montfort University, L.P.C., 2000
    • University of Birmingham, LL.B., 1999


    • England and Wales, 2002
    • Recommended in Chambers UK 2020 for Licensing: Birmingham
    • Recognised as a Leading Individual by Chambers UK
    • Recognised as a Recommended Lawyer in The Legal 500 UK 2020
    • Recommended by The Legal 500 UK for Product liability – defendant and Licensing

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