bto solicitors - Corporate & Commercial Business Lawyers Glasgow Edinburgh Scotland

  • "really fights your corner..."
    "really fights your corner..." Chambers UK
  • "Consistently high-quality work and client-friendly approach."
    "Consistently high-quality work and client-friendly approach." Chambers UK

Leisure, Hospitality and Licensing

“We have used BTO for over 25 years because they have always given excellent service and sound advice.   In a nutshell, what more can we say.”    (Shearings Hotels)

BTO’s Leisure, Hospitality & Licensing team is ranked in band 1 by The Legal 500. It is described as “diligent, courteous and extremely knowledgeable” and clients benefit from our “good reputation” and “one-stop-shop” service covering liquor licensing and related property matters. (Chambers UK)

We deal with all aspects of licensing work including contentious new licence applications, major and minor licence variation applications, personal licence applications and licence review hearings. Our team has experience in licensing hearings and appeals.

Our experience ranges from advising European and UK hotel chains to boutique restaurants, pubs, off licences and night clubs.  We deal with licensing and all related aspects of our clients transactions. Our licensing advice is often combined with advice on property, employment and the commercial aspects of our clients’ operations. Our advice is never fragmented as a result of licensing issues having to be outsourced to licensing agents.

Specific industry sector specialisms:

  • Hotels: We are experts in the hotel industry with an enviable list of hotel clients. Acting for such well known hotel brands gives a flavour of the enviable high profile work in which we are involved. For example, we undertake Civic Government HMO licensing for Shearings Hotels and other clients.

  • Pubs, Clubs, restaurants and off sales: We are renowned for our expertise across these sectors and are regular contributors to the trade press.

  • Contentious licensing applications: Our team appears at Licensing Board hearings across Scotland in relation to contentious licensing applications, e.g. new Premises Licence applications. We appear where Premises Licences and Personal Licences are in danger of being revoked or suspended. We appear at licence review hearings for our clients. We have superb advocacy skills.

  • Insolvency and banking: We are renowned for our licensing insolvency expertise, acting for Banks (Lloyds/Bank of Scotland), Insolvency Practitioners, other legal firms and operators advising on the technical requirements when dealing with insolvent licensed premises. This is a niche expertise within the licensing sector.

  • Purchases/Sales/Leases: We specialise in the purchase, sale, leasing and funding of licensed premises.

ContactNicolas McBride, Partner T. 0141 221 8012


  • Acting for a major UK restauranteur in its expansion into Scotland

Acting for a major restauranteur having 70 sets of premises across the UK in its expansion into Scotland.  We are instructed to carry out new Premises Licence applications for the company’s new restaurants. We are also instructed in the lease and development agreements. This client was looking for expert lawyers with a speedy proactive service which is how we have won and have retained this high profile client.

  • Licensing work a major European hotel client

We undertake all licensing work for a major European hotel client.  We have recently been involved in the licensing and conveyancing aspects of the sale and lease back of one of their Scottish hotels.  This was a particularly complex transaction given the underlying structure of the hotel ownership (involving Jersey based unit trusts and interposed long leases).

  • Acting for a major clearing bank

We are instructed by a major clearing bank to deal with all licensing aspects that arise in panel instructed repossession actions.  Our most recent matters involved hotels where we recovered possession, protected the licences and ultimately completed the sale of the properties for the bank.

  • Acting in the licensing and property aspects of a hotel business in Administration

We act in the licensing and property aspects of a hotel business in Administration and in the hands of Insolvency practitioners. This is a complex insolvency matter requiring expert licensing and leisure sector expertise.



  • "...excellent value for money..."

    Chambers UK
  • "friendly, knowledgeable and professional"

    Chambers UK
  • "You feel you are in safe hands."

    Chambers UK
  • "very good, with a wide support base and impressive contacts."

    Chambers UK
“The level of service has always been excellent, with properly experienced solicitors dealing with appropriate cases" Legal 500

Contact BTO


  • 48 St. Vincent Street
  • Glasgow
  • G2 5HS
  • T:+44 (0)141 221 8012
  • F:+44 (0)141 221 7803


  • One Edinburgh Quay
  • Edinburgh
  • EH3 9QG
  • T:+44 (0)131 222 2939
  • F:+44 (0)131 222 2949