I’ve recently come across this issue several times where people have been asked to leave when bringing a dog to an outside area at Wetherspoons pubs where they have tables on public ground/footpaths/pavements.

Personally I have no problem with this as the majority of (much nicer) pubs allow pets and it’s up to the business whether they allow it or not. However, given that these businesses apply for permits that seem to merely give them permission for tables/chairs on otherwise public spaces, I am intrigued what the law says about pub’s rights to remove pets from areas that are not technically part of their property.

Obviously Wetherspoons are a national business and likely know exactly what they’re doing, I just find it strange that they have any jurisdiction on public land, even if you’re sitting at a table they put there.

1 Answer 1


They have control of the land

The arrangement with the owner of the land is that they hold a licence to use the land and that gives them rights and obligations to manage the land - just like any other tenant. It is the same type of arrangement that gives local football and cricket clubs control over council playing fields during matches.

This may be spelled out in a written agreement (for a business with a pub, this is likely), however, this is a common law rule given to the controller of a premises.

  • Thanks for clearing it up
    – USD Matt
    Jan 31, 2023 at 2:59
  • Surely this can’t be right? A tenancy gives a person or business elusive possession that is the right to say who comes or goes. Pavement licenses are rather distinctly referred to as licenses to use the public lands in a certain way. How does this all compute? Oct 4, 2023 at 20:55

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