Luke Elford


I qualified as a Solicitor in 2012 having completed my training contract at Tower Hamlets council. On qualification, I joined the council’s Enforcement & Litigation Team working on everything from low-level street crime to multimillion-pound fraud cases and high-value litigation. It was in the Enforcement & Litigation Team that I discovered the world of alcohol and entertainment licensing, and I haven’t looked back.

I left the council towards the end of 2014 and was recruited by the highly regarded licensing practice, Jeffrey Green Russell, where I worked closely with leading licensing lawyer Julian Skeens. Acting on behalf of operators I was able to put the knowledge I had gained at the council to good use and help clients achieve some fantastic results.

When Julian left Jeffrey Green Russell for TLT in 2015 I followed to help him establish TLT’s presence as a force in licensing in London. At TLT I was promoted to Associate in 2018 and was ranked as the “Associate to Watch” and a “Rising Star” for Licensing in London by Chambers & Partners and the Legal500 respectively. One commentator describes me as “technically the very best licensing solicitor in London” who “knows the industry inside out” and whose “memory is phenomenal and encyclopaedic.” I have remained ranked by the legal directories for ever since.

In 2019, I left TLT to join Woods Whur as an Associate to help establish their London office and I have now joined John Gaunt & Partners with a similar goal in mind. I bring with me a number of significant operators in the London market as well as intimate knowledge of the London licensing scene. 

I act for a wide variety of clients from single-site operators to multibillion-pound businesses and undertake the full range of licensing applications. I also have extensive experience on appeals to the Magistrates’ Court. My practice is predominantly focused on central London and in dealing with the challenges presented by Cumulative Impact Areas, but I am also available to help when things have gone wrong and have been involved in several high-profile reviews, summary reviews, and prosecutions. I am a member of the Institute of Licensing (IoL), the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII), the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), and the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA). I also hold the Award for Personal Licence Holders (APLH).

Away from licensing I enjoy most sports, but particularly football and cricket – more watching than playing these days unfortunately. I also enjoy trying new restaurants and bars, as well as watching films at the cinema.

Recent Case Studies

Cumulative Impact – Westminster & Hackney

  • Obtained a new premises licence for a cocktail bar in Westminster’s Cumulative Impact Area
  • Advised a client on obtaining a 24hr premises licence for a hotel and bar in one of Hackney’s Cumulative Impact Areas
  • Secured a new premises licence for a restaurant concept in Westminster’s Cumulative Impact Area

Development Projects – City of London & Tower Hamlets

  • Advised on the obtaining of 29 separate provisional statements and subsequent licences for a significant redevelopment project comprising offices, bars, and restaurants in the heart of the City of London
  • Obtained a 24hr premises licence for a hotel with 3am private members’ club and roof terrace in Canary Wharf

Hotels – RBKC, Newham, & Tower Hamlets

  • Advised one of the world’s leading boutique hotels on a dispute with its neighbours
  • Secured the largest (vertical) premises licence in England & Wales for a hotel and residential development in the Olympic village
  • Granted a new premises licence for a hotel and co-working space under delegated authority in Tower Hamlets

Restaurants – Westminster & Camden

  • Assisted with an application for a new premises licence for a two Michelin starred restaurant in Fitzrovia
  • Undertook all licensing in relation to the refurbishment of a Michelin starred restaurant in Westminster

Private Members’ Clubs – Westminster

  • Obtained a new premises licence for a private members’ club adding hotel bedrooms to their offer in Westminster
  • Helped seek a new premises licence for a private members’ club in Shaftesbury Avenue
  • Secured a new premises licence and subsequent variations for a private members’ club and workspace in Fitzrovia

Bars – Camden

  • Granted a new premises licence for a wine bar and restaurant despite local objections
  • Advised on obtaining a licence for a bar in Belsize Park

Pubs – RBKC & Westminster

  • Assisted with significant advice in relation to the licensing of a historic public house in Great Portland Street
  • Obtained a variation to a premises licence to enable the renovation of a long-closed public house in Chelsea

Nightclubs – Southwark & Westminster

  • Retained to provide licensing advice to the country’s most iconic nightclub in Southwark
  • Obtained (by way of a minor variation) significant changes to the layout of a trendy West End nightclub

Workspaces – Southwark & Hackney

  • Secured the premises licence for a co-working space in Southwark’s Cumulative Impact area, incorporating an events space, cinema, and private terrace
  • Granted two new premises licences for a community workspace in Hackney and Southwark

Delivery Hubs – London-wide

  • Drafted submissions in relation to the application of licensing policies to a well-known delivery providers licensing applications at numerous sites around London


  • Instructed following a glass related incident at a London hotel and able to avoid a review of the premises licence
  • Defeated a summary review of the premises licence of a nightclub in south London following a significant melee involving bladed articles