The Licensing Act 2003 - What does it cover?

The Licensing Act 2003 covers far more than just alcohol. Contrary to what you might believe having seen the newspapers and television coverage the Act is not simply about 24 hour licensing and attempts to control ‘binge drinking’

The English Licensing Law covers a wide variety of premises involved in public entertainment and provision of refreshment – whether or not they sell alcohol.

Club Premises Certificate

The Licensing Act introduced a new system of Premises and Personal Licences and a separate system of Temporary Event Notices. Members Clubs are now controlled by a new licence known as a Club Premises Certificate.

Licensing Objectives

All applicants when submitting an application for a Premises Licence need to prepare an Operating Schedule and the Act introduces the requirement for all licensed premises to show how they will be able to promote the four licensing objectives: -

  • The prevention of crime and disorder
  • Public safety
  • The prevention of public nuisance
  • The protection of children from harm

The same 4 licensing objectives are considered by the Local Licensing Authority when there are challenges to new licence applications, variations or reviews of licences.

How can we help?

At Sydney Mitchell we offer many Licensing Law services. We are well versed in applying for all the various different types of Licences and can assist on

  • Applications for Premises Licences of all sorts
  • Personal Licences
  • Club Premises Certificates
  • Temporary Event Notices (TENs)
  • Dealing with applications for variation and review of Premises Licences
  • Providing training for clients, staff and local licensing authorities
  • Transfers of Premises Licences, and changes of Designate Premises Supervisors
  • Acting for Insolvency practitioners and others when businesses have to close

Who can we help?

As you will see below the Licensing Act has a very broad impact we can help anyone who is affected by the Act including:

  • Pubs, Clubs, off licences, supermarkets, wholesalers and anyone involved in the sale or supply of alcohol
  • Restaurants, take aways, chip shops, garages and any businesses supplying hot food after 11 p.m.
  • Theatres, cinemas, wedding venues, conference centres, hotels etc – any venues providing facilities for entertainment or indoor sporting venues.
  • Individuals applying for Personal Licences
  • Members and Social Clubs around the country

Who is affected by the Act?

The Licensing Act covers a large number of different types of businesses and venues.

Places of entertainment – cinemas, theatres, village halls, schools, indoor sporting arenas, wedding venues, conference centres, comedy clubs to name but a few

Refreshment houses – including restaurants and take aways, hotels, chip shops, garages, kebab houses, late night ‘burger vans’ and similar outlets

Social and members clubs – all types of sports and social clubs, golf clubs, rugby and football clubs, working men's and all similar venues

Alcohol – any premises involved in the sale of alcohol, from pubs, through restaurants, ‘off licences’ supermarkets, hotels, wholesalers, cinemas, theatres – anywhere with a bar.

You will see that the list of premises and businesses affected is long and suprisingly wide.

The Act has been fully implemented since November 2005 and many licensees are still feeling the impact. The combination of the licensing regime, the Gambling Act restriction and the smoking ban in 2007 have had a dramatic effect on many outlets profitability.

The Licensing Act brought major changes in many areas, amongst others to the authorities controlling licensing, the types of licenses that can be held, the length of licences and it also provides new opportunities for interested parties to object to licenses. It also introduced a new concept of applications for Reviews for Licences. Now those immediately affected by the Premises can seek a revocation of the Licence.

There are also new powers for closure of affected Premises by the police.

The Licensing Act also created over 50 new offences which anyone involved in this area needs to be aware of.

The differences between the current and old law are in detail, substance and policy and no-one who is involved in the sale by retail or otherwise of alcohol, providing entertainment or facilities for entertainment, or providing late night refreshment can afford to ignore the changes.

At Sydney Mitchell we have an established specialised team to help guide clients through this complicated area. Peter and his team at his previous firm where recognised by the Legal 500 in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Peter and his small team helped many clients through the conversion process from the old to the new licences and continues to assist with ongoing variations, reviews and appeals.

If you are involved in the area of Social and Members Clubs please also see our separate section on this website dealing with that area of law. We publish an occasional newsletter for Clubs and all those involced in Licensing. Download your copy here.

For further details please get in touch - simply complete our online contact form

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