Teal blue graphic

Stephen McGowan

His understanding of and presence in the licensing community is second to none
chambers uk

About Stephen

Stephen is the Head of Licensing (Scotland).

One of Scotland's most renowned licensing lawyers, Stephen has appeared for clients before licensing boards all over Scotland and has a vast range of experience advising on legal issues relating to liquor licensing, gambling and civic licensing. He has acted for a wide array of operators from independent publicans, local convenience stores, street traders and bookies to national pubcos, online gambling businesses and casino chains, carrying out all aspects of work from submission of applications to highly contentious hearings and appeals. Stephen also regularly advises other professionals including non-specialist solicitors, insolvency practitioners and surveyors.

Stephen's expertise in licensing law is recognised at the highest levels. He has sat on a number of Scottish Government expert groups including those which oversaw the update to personal licence refresher training, and training for licensing board members. He gave evidence to Parliament in connection with the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015 in connection with alcohol licensing reforms. He is also a member of the Scottish Government Alcohol Industry Partnership (SGAIP), the National Licensing Advisory Group (NLAG), the Institute of Licensing National Advisory Group (and was the first Scottish solicitor member of the Institute), and also sits on the Law Society of Scotland Licensing Sub-committee.  

Stephen is recognised in both Chambers and Legal 500, both independent guides to the UK legal market, as a leading expert in licensing. Stephen is also a leading author in this area, having written four books including "Licensing and Gambling Law in Scotland" (2009) and "Local Government Licensing Law in Scotland" (2012), and he contributes regularly to legal journals and trade publications and is a sought-after speaker.

Stephen also has close ties to the licensed trade itself. Stephen was appointed as Chairman of BII Scotland in November 2012, and awarded CBII status in 2014 for his services to the BII and their trade members. In 2015, Stephen was appointed Chair of the UK BII Governance and Remuneration Committee.

He is a member of CAMRA, the Incorporations of Maltmen and Coopers at Glasgow's Trade House, and the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) Scottish region. In addition to this, Stephen was made a director of licensed trade charity "The Ben" (The Scottish Licensed Trade Benevolent Society) in April 2015.

Stephen won the prestigious Chairman's Award at the Law Awards of Scotland in 2008, given to the single most outstanding entrant across all award fields, and in 2012 won the Scottish Legal Awards Rising Star of the Year, both for his contributions to licensing law.

Stephen was made a partner of TLT LLP in November 2012. He has previously worked at Lindsays, R &JM Hill Brown, Glasgow Licensing Board, and in the licensed trade itself.

Jurisdiction: Scotland

Insights & events View all