About Us

Tom Johnston

Ormidale Licensing Services (OLS) was established by Tom Johnston, for thirty years one of Scotland’s best known licensing lawyers. Since retiring in 2014, Tom has maintained his interest in the subject of liquor licensing. He is actively involved in writing and lecturing on the topic. He sits on two Law Society committees, and is currently secretary of Fife Licensed Trade Association, where he sees licensing life at the sharp end.

Our Services

Feel free to contact us for a chat on licensing issues on a no obligation basis. Tom is available for consultation or advice, but no longer undertakes licensing board appearance work.

Why Use Us?

Tom has appeared at boards throughout the country, and was regarded as one of the country’s finest licensing board practitioners. As a solicitor he featured both in Chambers Directory  and the Legal 500. Other credits include

  • Accredited specialist 1994 – 2014
  • Member, National Licensing Advisory Group
  • Member, Law Society Licensing Sub Committee and Specialist Accreditation Panel
  • Author  How Not To Lose Your Licence  and SWA Guide to the Alcohol etc (Scotland) Act 2010
  • Author of quarterly article for the Journal of the Law Society of Scotland
  • Regular author, reviewer and lecturer on liquor licensing topics
  • Legal adviser to Scottish Grocers’ Federation and Fife Licensed Trade Association.

What’s The Benefit To You?

Originally this section extolled the benefits of engaging the services of OLS: now this website  is of much more use to the hungry. See the sections below about Tom Eats! and Tom Cooks!

Tom  Eats!

While the restaurant review page has nothing whatever to do with the practice of licensing,  a lifetime away from the law has been spent in the pleasure of producing and eating good food. I have always wanted a forum to pass on these pleasures and I hope you enjoy this feature. Any comments, criticisms or recommendations will be greatly appreciated.

Tom Cooks!

Following the success among family and friends of A Bunch of Fives (a privately published cook book, not available for general distribution) the Tom Cooks! column was established in the autumn of 2015. It publishes recipes on a weekly basis, with the emphasis on seasonality. I go on the basis that if I can make them, most home cooks can. Comments will be most welcome. If you have a favourite that you would like to share, send it in.

Tom Johnston




3 thoughts on “About Us

  1. Hi there, as a man who is an expert in licensing and a lover of good food could you advise on the following.

    A midnight supper club dedicated to the hard working catering professionals (but with the odd blogger or 2)

    Starting at 12 and going on to the small hours

    From asking around it seems that;

    It would need to finish at 3am as that’s the latest licence an establishment can have

    Byob would be the best bet

    The host restaurant/pub would require a food licence(which many obviously do)

    Should I be aware of anything else and if I held it in a large house would I be exempt from all of the previous?

    Thought I’d ask as you would probably know off the top of your head

    Thanks for your time

    • Hi David,

      Apologies for the delay – have been very busy of late and hadn’t checked the site for a while. Unfortunately, your very reasonable idea is fraught with problems if it is done on a commercial basis. If, on the other hand, this is a group of friends who meet for a bite and an unwind, paying their own way in private premises, it is on the same status as a private party. If, on the other hand, it is open in any way to the public, there are lots of issues. You have identified liquor licensing (likely to be prohibitively expensive) and late hours catering. You will be more aware than I of the input of the environmental standards people. Finally, if this is being run as a business you may have to consider planning permission, likely to be a thorny issue as soon as you say you are operating in the early hours of the morning. Not easy, I’m afraid. Good luck. Tom

  2. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and
    wished to say that I have truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts.
    After all I’ll be subscribing to your feed and
    I hope you write again soon!

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