Pubcos Agree To Anonymity Waiver In Arbitration Matters

UKHospitality-LogoThe six companies subject to the Pubs Code have written to Richard Harrington MP, BEIS Minister, agreeing to waive their right to confidentiality in Arbitration decisions made by the Pubs Code Adjudicator. Under the Arbitration Act decisions must remain confidential, unless all parties to a decision agree to publication. The move by pub companies to waive their rights in this respect will help in providing clarity and transparency for the whole sector.

Since the Pubs Code came into effect in July 2016 the six companies subject to the code (Admiral Taverns, Ei Group, Greene King, Marston’s, Punch Taverns and Star Pubs and Bars) have been working constructively with all industry stakeholders to ensure that the spirit and the letter of the Code is put into practice. The BBPA and its members will continue to engage in a positive manner so that the partnership pub model flourishes.

The British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) and UKHospitality have responded to the announcement, Mike Clist, BII Chief Executive said: “We welcome the decision of the six pub companies that have jointly written to Richard Harrington MP, BEIS Minister to waive their right to confidentiality in respect of arbitration decisions made by the PCA.

“Transparency of awards made by the PCA is, we believe, one of the ways that will speed up decisions which can only benefit those tenants applying for MRO.”

UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls added: “ We echo the comments of the BII and feel confident the decision to waive anonymity and bring these decisions out into the open should bring a welcome sense of transparency and clarity to the process. However, the chief issue and biggest barrier to progress remains the time being taken to work through disputes. The PCA is still taking far too long and the process is in desperate need of speeding up, as businesses are at risk of going bust while cases are being heard.

“UKHospitality is ready and willing to continue to work with all parties to facilitate the process and bring about speedy resolutions.”

British Beer & Pub Association chief executive Brigid Simmonds said “The decision of the pub companies to waive their rights in this respect aims to reassure the whole sector about their commitment to clarity and transparency. It is something that has been under discussion for some time but clearly there are detailed legal hurdles that need to be overcome. The proactive agreement of the six companies to agree to this approach is an important step. It highlights the fact we remain committed to working with tenants and the Pubs Code adjudicator to ensure the code is delivered as Parliament intended. We have also suggested each company’s Market Rent Only option agreement is accredited by the Pubs Code adjudicator to ensure the system is more open, transparent and provides clear guidance to licensees.”