WoodsWhur - Legal Licensing Service - Alcohol, Entertainment, Gambling, Taxi law and Regulation
Andrew Woods

Andrew is a founder member of the practice, having specialised in licensing law since 1992 and brings with him many years of experience in licensing, betting and gaming. Andrew is highlighted in recent editions of the Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession, ranked as joint No.1 in the North East, and commended for his “responsive and attentive service and easy-going manner”.

Andrew has represented a range of major betting, gaming and liquor clients including: William Hill, Ladbrokes, Corals, the Barracuda Group, Novus Leisure, Thistle Hotels, Travelodge, TCG and the Spirit Group over his many years experience.

Throughout this period, Andrew has developed his skills for running large projects and has won praise for the detail of the systems he brings to these large projects.
Andrew is a Solicitor-Advocate (Higher Courts all Proceedings), having recently attained his higher rights of audience from the Solicitors Regulation Authority, allowing him to represent clients in all UK courts.

Andrew was responsible for the Clermont Leisure Limited Casino Project, which involved thirty applications around the UK. This was the largest casino project to be undertaken in the UK and each application was heavily contested by existing operators. Andrew conducted his own advocacy against QC oppositions on a number of occasions.

Andrew has been instructed in several cases which have proceeded to the High Court, including the leading case on casino law “TC Projects”, which was ultimately considered by the Court of Appeal in 2008 as well as the High Court Case connected to Westminster’s cumulative impact policy.

He also successfully conducted the Dusk Till Dawn Poker Club Licence Application in Nottingham against trade opposition.
He has represented Riley’s Snooker Clubs for many years, not only in respect of commercial club licences, but also in respect of operating licences which have been granted during a diversification to adult gaming centres and bingo licences.

Andrew has also advised residents’ groups and other individuals sometimes on a pro bono basis and has also been instructed by Humberside Police in connection with review hearings. These varied instructions have allowed Andrew to become one of the leading licensing solicitors in the country.

Andrew speaks at industry events, training courses and contributes to the trade press.

Andrew wrote “Gaming in Licensed Premises” published in 2010 with Paddy Whur and Stephen McGowan which looks at the relationship between gambling and alcohol legislation.

Mobile: 07738 170138


Paddy Whur

Paddy is a founder member of the practice and has twenty years experience as a licensing lawyer. He is praised for providing “a feasible idea of what you will achieve, rather than tell you what you want to hear” * and is celebrated by clients for being “astoundingly effective,” retaining his Number One ranking in the Chambers Directory.

Paddy is a Solicitor-Advocate (Higher Courts all Proceedings) having attained his higher rights from the Solicitors Regulation Authority, allowing him to act as advocate representing clients in all criminal and civil courts in the UK. He has gained a notable reputation as a “tenacious advocate”* in high profile betting, liquor and entertainment applications and reviews, where he has gained recent success in a number of contested hearings.

Betting and Gaming

He represents national and international bookmakers for land based and e-betting and gaming. He has represented Ladbrokes, The Tote, Coral Bet Fred and William Hill for betting work. He has represented National Leisure, Ladbrokes, Reel Leisure, Teddy Clark’s and Treatview for Adult Gaming Centres. As well as Mecca Bingo
for Gambling Act and Licensing Act Premises Licences.

Paddy was the lead lawyer in advising the Cyprus Government on redrafting their betting and gaming law after leading a multi disciplined team which conducted an over-reaching review of the whole industry.

He has recently been described as “probably the best betting solicitor in the country” in the 2010 edition of the Legal 500.

Liquor Licensing

Paddy has acted for Tesco, Harewood Operations, Barracuda and TCG in recent high profile contested cases against police, trading standards and residential opposition. As well as acting for these companies on a National basis, he also represents the majority of the larger Leeds Independent operators.

Public Sector

Paddy heads up the Department’s growing Public Sector Practice, having spoken at the 2nd and 4th Home Office National Alcohol Conferences, where he received positive feedback from delegates. This resulted in him speaking at 13 Regional Home Office Alcohol Enforcement Events, 54 priority areas and 4 intensive support visits. He was
shortlisted for the Home Office External Supplier of the Year Awards, for his collaborative work in delivering training.

Paddy has recently undertaken a full review and report on the Licensing Policies and Procedure for Newham Council, in the run up to the Olympics. He is retained to represent the Authority on Licensing Appeals.

He has also carried out training for Northampton, Portsmouth and Newcastle councils, and is acting for Warrington Borough Council and Hereford Council on taxi licensing appeals.

Paddy Whur has been a visiting lecturer at Warwick University having written the Gambling Course for the University's Certificate of Higher Education in Licensing Law. 

He has been a contributing author to Paterson’s Licensing Acts. Paddy Whur, together with Andrew Woods and Stephen McGowan, have written ‘Gaming in Licensed Premises’ published in January 2010, which looks at the relationship between Gambling and Alcohol Legislation.

*Chambers Directory 2008

Mobile: 07738 170137


Chris Rees-Gay

Chris joined the Licensing Team in January 2010 and qualified on 27 August 2010. Chris deals with both contentious and non-contentious aspects of licensing and has already become experienced in appearing at Licensing Sub-Committees, dealing with contested applications for National clients. Chris has also dealt with the licensing of sports stadia, including Leeds United and Crystal
Palace, and has advised clients on Section 19 Closure Notices and most aspects of the Licensing Act 2003.

Chris is responsible for administering both alcohol and gambling licensing applications for a number of clients through our Practice Management System including Temporary Event Notices, DPS Variations, other Variations to Premises Licences.

He has submitted a number of applications for Gambling Operating Licences both for start up
businesses and for existing operators wishing to change their Licence.

Chris joined the British Army in January 2001 and served with the First Battalion, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers as an Infantry Officer, rising to the position of Captain when he left in September 2006 to follow his career in Law. During his time in the Army, Chris saw operational service in Iraq and Bosnia.

Mobile: 07809 708156


Anna Mathias

Anna is a barrister with twenty years’ experience as a licensing lawyer. Called to the Bar by Lincoln’s Inn in 1994, she practised in Chambers for 10 years, with licensing and regulatory law prominent among her specialisms. In 2003 she was recruited by the legal team at the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to assist the Borough in taking on its new responsibilities under the Licensing Act 2003. From there, she joined West End law firm Joelson Wilson, where for nearly ten years she practised exclusively in alcohol and entertainment licensing and the law of betting, gaming and lotteries. During this period, she also developed her expertise in associated regulatory and criminal law spheres that affect the leisure industry, such as planning, health and safety, food safety, food labelling, consumer protection, trading standards and weights and measures. She left Joelson Wilson in early 2015 for Woods Whur, with a view to focussing particularly on our London client base, although the nationwide nature of the practice she enjoyed at Joelson Wilson continues.

As a barrister, Anna has full rights of audience and she has extensive experience of appearing before courts and tribunals at all levels and before local authority Licensing Sub-Committees across the country. She represents clients in the pub, bar, restaurant, nightclub, off-licence, hotel, corporate event, catering and brewing trades and acts for both remote and land-based operators in the casino, bingo, betting, lottery and gaming machine and arcade sectors, and for tracks.
She has frequently advised residents’ groups in connection with licence applications and reviews and has, over the years, developed excellent working relationships with a broad base of professionals and regulatory authorities involved in licensing and gambling, including Local Authority officers and representatives of the Gambling Commission. This understanding of both sides of the process has played its part in enabling Anna to become considered as one of the leading lawyers in the field. This has been recognised by legal directory The

Legal 500. Clients who were interviewed commended Anna for her ability to “convey complex concepts in a comprehensible way".

Anna thrives on acting for start-ups and, in the gambling field, this has brought her into contact with many operators and developers who have innovative gambling products to bring to market. One of her particular strengths lies in the ability to analyse a new idea, appraise how it falls to be classified under GB gambling legislation and translate the idea into reality, via the appropriate operating licence. As of 1 November 2014, any remote gambling operator who wishes to transact with, or advertise to, British customers has been required to obtain an operating licence issued by the GB Gambling Commission, regardless of where they - or their servers - are. Anna has helped numerous operators from all over the world through that process. She has also developed considerable expertise in the licensing of gambling software, which currently forms a considerable part of her practise, given the looming deadline of 31 March 2015 for those companies.
Anna is one of the most experienced lotteries sector regulatory lawyers in the market. She’s been retained as adviser to the Lotteries Council and all of its members for many years, dealing with all manner of enquiries from charities and their commercial lottery partners. She’s advised major charities such as Comic Relief and Macmillan, Cancer Research UK, Marie Curie, The Air Ambulance Society, The British Red Cross, Guide Dogs for the Blind, The PDSA, The Royal Air Force Association, and countless hospices and other charities that are less well-known. Commercial partners have included Capen Consultants, 1-2-1 Fundraising and Anna has also acted for several football clubs including Sheffield Wednesday.
Anna has acted for a wide spectrum of clients in the alcohol and entertainment sectors, ranging from celebrity chefs to late night, multi-site clients such as iNtertain (the operator of the Walkabout chain) and The Barracuda Group. She has established a strong record in obtaining licences and extensions to hours for sites located in stress areas, in circumstances where granting the application runs counter to policy.

Anna is a frequent contributor to publications such as Casino Review, Estates Gazette and Betting Business and writes a monthly legal column for the pub trade magazine Inapub. She has spoken at many trade events such as ICE 2014 and participated in a great number of seminars aimed at lawyers, regulatory authorities and operators. She is regularly quoted in specialist resources such as Gambling Compliance and in the national press on the subject of licensing and gambling law.

Please contact Anna Mathias on 07767 782997 or anna@woodswhur.co.uk if you would like further information.

Mobile: 07767 782997


Colin Manchester

Colin Manchester previously held posts of Professor of Licensing Law at the Universities of Warwick and Birmingham. He was for several years Course Director of the Certificate of Higher Education in Licensing Law, an innovative part-time distance-learning course which he developed to provide a recognised professional qualification for licensing officers in local government and other licensing professionals.

He has recently retired from teaching and joins WoodsWhur as a consultant.

He is regarded as one of the most eminent academics in the field of Licensing Law and has written many leading texts on the subject.
He is the author of three books covering Licensing Law:
  • Sex Shops and the Law, published in 1986 (Gower)
  • Entertainment Licensing Law and Practice, published in 1994 and in 1999 (2nd ed., Butterworths)
  • Alcohol and Entertainment Licensing Law, published in 2005 (Cavendish) and 2008 (2nd ed., Routledge-Cavendish).
  • He has also revised and updated the section on "Theatres and Other Forms of Entertainment" in Halsbury's Laws of England (Vol. 45(2), Butterworths, 1999)
  • He is a Consulting Editor of Licensing Review
  • He has written a number of articles in leading journals (e.g. Criminal Law Review, Civil Justice Quarterly) on a range of areas and topics in licensing.
He was Chairman of the Working Party that produced Model National Standard Conditions for Places of Entertainment (Entertainment Technology Press, 2002) and has been a Vice-Chair of the Institute of Licensing, the professional body for those working in the licensing field.
0113 234 3055