Leo Charalambides is a public law barrister, and is regularly instructed to act on behalf of local authorities, public bodies and both professional and lay clients in a wide array of legal challenges.

Leo is regarded as a leading figure in Licensing law and is a Fellow of the Institute of Licensing as well as the Editor of the Journal of Licensing. As a nationally recognised licensing specialist, Leo has developed a strong reputation as a knowledgeable and skilled advocate who boasts a portfolio of clients including highly recognisable international brands as well as independent family-run businesses. He has a proven track record of success and is highly sought after by individuals and businesses looking for skilled, innovative and successful legal representation.


Leo has a substantial licensing practice in which he advises and represents a wide range of operators, local authorities, police authorities and residents across all aspects of licensing law including Licensing Act 2003, Gambling Act 2005, Sex Establishments, Markets, Street Trading, Pavement Licensing, Special Treatments, Busking, Caravans, HMO’s, Scarp Metal and Animal Licensing.

He is recognised as providing outstanding expert advice on all aspect of the Licensing Act 2003 relating to a range of activities including the sale of alcohol and late-night refreshment. Leo advises clients at the earliest stages of the application process through to appeal and is regularly praised for his tactical approach when representing parties at premises licensing review hearings and subsequent appeals.

Leo is acclaimed for his knowledge and insight in Sexual Entertainment Venues and brings a creative approach to clients and responsible authorities when working with unique and highly specialised venues with cultural importance to the community.

Leo has a keen interest in advising local authorities on all aspect of gambling licensing including the extent and scope of local decision making under the Gambling Act 2005. Leo also advices on national and international operators seeking entry into the UK gambling market.

Leo regularly accepts instructions from local authorities in relation to Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle licence appeals in both the Crown and Magistrates Court.

Leo has developed a strong public law practice where he is regularly asked to provide advice and guidance to local authorities on a broad spectrum of issues ranging from Local Government constitutional arrangements and powers through to the adoption and implementation of new policy. He has experience of providing representation and advice in judicial review proceedings and his understanding of complex legal points enables him to give sound guidance to clients. Leo is well regarded for his work on public sector equality duty and more recently has advised on issues relating to licensing fees.

Leo is especially interested in the distinct and inter-related interest in the licensing and use of open public spaces. He regularly advises on all aspects of open-air events, Markets & Fairs, Street trading, Highways and Pavement Licensing. Leo has a niche practice in advising London local authorities (London Local Authorities Act 2000, Part V) on the regulation of buskers and busking. His clients include the London Boroughs of Camden, Westminster, and Kensington & Chelsea.

Leo puts his Masters in Environmental Law to good use advising and representing clients in high profile environmental abatement appeals. Many of his cases relate to issues that arise from the operation of bars, nightclubs and other venues in the hospitality and leisure sector. Leo has a particular interest in nature conservation and has previously advised the WWF, the Bat Conservation Trust and the Herpetological Society on the Habitats Directive. Leo has a particular interest in the law concerning the impact of non-native species and has advised on cases involving: Tree preservation orders and Contaminated land.


'Leo is always impeccably prepared – a very thorough junior.’

Legal 500 2024

"Leo is always available and really experienced. He is really knowledgeable and his advocacy is very measured."

Chambers UK 2024


Chambers UK 2023

“He is real specialist in licensing. He is very sharp and thorough and a pleasure to work with.”

“If it is a tough case he will be all over it and will work as hard anyone.”

Chambers & Partners UK 2022

“He is very knowledgeable and sensible.” “He’s a very talented advocate.”

Legal 500, 2021

“His relaxed manner and commercial awareness make him easy to work with, while his cross-examination skills really get to the heart of a matter.”

Legal 500, 2020

“His knowledge of licencing is excellent.”

Chambers & Partners 2016

“He has detailed knowledge of the law and its application in commercial situations.”

Chambers & Partners 2015

“He is very calm, meticulous and precise in all he does; he thinks outside of the box.”

Legal 500 2014

“Bright and tenacious.”

Chambers & Partners 2014

“Very personable, very likeable and very clever”

Chambers & Partners 2013

“Earnest knowledgeable and has seen a lot. He does a great job”

Legal 500 2013

“[He is] one to watch”

  • Fellow of the Institute of Licensing (2012) in recognition of his work on the Journal of Licensing, his contribution to the London Region and his wider contribution to the world of licensing.

Leo is a contributor to Halsbury’s Laws of England, Vol 69, Local Government (5th edition, Butterworths, 2009).

Leo has been closely involved in the development and publication of the Institute of Licensing: Journal of Licensing. The first issue of the Journal was published in November 2011, Leo has been the Editor of the Journal since the first issue, the Journal of Licensing is published by the IoL three times a year.

Leo has also contributed a number of Westlaw Insight Articles: Sex Cinemas; Sex Shops; Hostess Bars; Sex Encounter Establishments and Sexual Entertainment Venues.

Leo is well known for lecturing and training on all aspects of licensing law.

Portfolio Builder

Select the expertise that you would like to download or add to the portfolio

Download    Add to portfolio   
Title Type CV Email

Remove All


Click here to share this shortlist.
(It will expire after 30 days.)