BBC Radio 4's Law in Action was broadcast on Friday, 7 October, 2005 at 1600 BST.
Next month, the new Licensing Act comes into force. It gives pubs and bars the right to apply to their local authority to sell alcohol twenty-four hours a day. It is undoubtedly good news for some, but not everyone is celebrating.
Residents up and down the country are now going to law to try and challenge late night licences for pubs and bars in their particular residential areas. But many have hit a legal brick wall before they even get a chance to have their say.
Under the terms of the new Act, anyone wanting to object to the granting of a late license must make representations to the Local Authority. Sounds straightforward enough - but new laws on what constitutes living in the 'vicinity' - the area around a pub or bar - have resulted in some residents being excluded from having the right to formally object at all because they do not live near enough.
Furthermore, if they try to appeal, things get even more complicated - Law in Action goes to Birmingham to find out why.