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Catherine Callaghan QC has acted for the successful Claimants, Heineken’s pub estate business, in the first two High Court decisions concerning the nature and scope of pub-owning businesses’ obligations and the Pubs Code Adjudicator’s powers under the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 and the Pubs Code etc Regulations 2016.

In March 2020, the High Court gave judgment in Punch Partnerships (PTL) Ltd & Star Pubs and Bars Ltd v Highwayman Hotel (Kidlington) Ltd [2020] EWHC 714 (Ch). Murray Rosen QC (sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge) held that the Pubs Code Adjudicator, in its role as statutory arbitrator of disputes between pub owning businesses and their tied pub tenants, did not have power under the statutory scheme to order pub-owning businesses to offer their tied pub tenants specific terms in a free-of-tie lease. The PCA had therefore exceeded its powers, causing substantial injustice to the landlord, and the arbitration award was accordingly set aside under section 68 of the Arbitration Act 1996. A link to the decision can be found here.  

Today, the High Court gave judgment in a second decision under the statutory scheme, Punch Partnerships (PTL) Ltd & Star Pubs & Bars Ltd v Jonalt Ltd [2020] EWHC 1376 (Ch). In that decision, Kelyn Bacon QC (sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge) affirmed the Highwayman decision, holding that the arbitrator exceeded his powers in ordering Star to offer a free-of-tie lease containing a specific keg stocking requirement, and committed a serious procedural irregularity by reversing the usual normal burden of proof without inviting submissions on the point from the parties. The High Court set aside the arbitration award under section 68 of the Arbitration Act 1996. 

Catherine Callaghan QC acted for Punch Partnerships (PTL) Ltd and Star Pubs and Bars Ltd.

A link to the Jonalt decision can be found here.