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The sale by retail or supply of alcohol, the provision of regulated entertainment and the provision of late night refreshment are all regulated by the Licensing Act 2003.

Anyone seeking to provide these activities must consider whether they require a licence or authorisation to do so. Under the 2003 Act there are four different types of authorisation or permissions which are available:

  • A premises licence – which permits a premises to be used for licensable activities;
  • A club premises certificate – which allows a qualifying club to engage in qualifying club activities;
  • A temporary event notice – which allows licensable activities to be carried out in premises as a temporary measure, whether that premises already has a licence/certificate or not; &
  • A personal licence – which allows the holder to sell or authorise the sale of alcohol from premises in respect of which there is a premises licence.

The application processes vary depending on the licence or authorisation sought. There is generally a requirement to complete a specified application form with details of the premises and the activities to be provided.

Applications are submitted to the Local Authority licensing department. A number of responsible bodies such as the Police and Environmental Health department must be copied into the application and some applications must also be advertised both in the press and on the premises. 

If applications are contentious they are heard before a Licensing Committee made up of a number of Councillors. If an applicant is unsatisfied with the decision of the Licensing Committee they can submit an appeal to the Magistrates' Court. 

At the heart of the Licensing Act are the four licensing objectives which are:

  • The prevention of crime and disorder;
  • Promotion of public safety;
  • The prevention of public nuisance; &
  • The protection of children from harm.

The promotion of these four licensing objectives is a paramount consideration at all times and must be demonstrated by the applicant as part of the application process.

Due to the complexity of the new legislation we would highly recommend that anyone looking to offer licensed facilities takes legal advice before doing so.

If we can assist you in any way, or if you simply want to discuss any licensing & gambling issue, please contact us at any time.