Alcohol Licensing Law:
Sternberg Reed Solicitors in Barking, Grays and Romford, East London, Essex offer help with all aspects of licensing law
The Licensing Act 2003 has been the biggest change in Alcohol Licensing Law for forty years, perhaps longer. Many of the practices and procedures we have been so used to have dramatically changed. The Act brings together several different licensing regimes, such as the selling of alcohol, providing public entertainment and providing refreshment late at night, into one single jurisdiction, focused on the Local Authority Licensing Committee.
Do I still go to the Local Magistrates Court and ask the Licensing Justices to grant a licence for a pub/disco club/restaurant?
No. At the heart of the new system is the concept of dual licences. One for the premises authorising a variety of “Licensable activities”; the other a personal licence being held by any individual responsible for the sale of alcohol.
What are these "Licensable activities"?
Sale of alcohol by retail; the supply of alcohol by or on behalf of a club to, or to the order of, a member of the club; the provision of “regulated entertainment”; the provision of late night refreshment.
A Licence for the premises?
Yes. The new legislation requires that you obtain a Premises Licence (the premises must be suitable for use for licensable activities), a Club Premises Certificate (the replacement for club registrations) or a Temporary Event Notice (the replacement for Occasional Licences). Otherwise, you will be committing an offence.
Who do I apply to?
You need to apply to the “relevant Licensing Authority” i.e. the Licensing Department of the Local Authority in which the premises are situated.
Is the application form simple? How do I do it?
With great care. You are required, amongst other things, to complete an “Operating Schedule” which in most cases can be complicated, and you will have to outline the steps you propose to take to promote the “Licensing Objectives”.
Can I open twenty-four hours a day?
In theory yes, but in practice it may be very difficult to obtain such licences and in any event you should seek advice from specialists such as ourselves.
Do I need anything other than the Premises Licence?
Yes you do. A Personal Licence must be obtained before any person can supply alcohol or authorise its supply. So you need to have in place at the very least one person (more is strongly advisable) at the premises who holds a Personal Licence.
Who do I apply to?
Firstly you have to ensure that you have the right licensing qualifications, and if you have criminal convictions then you may have problems. The application is made to the Local Authority in which the person lives, rather than the Local Authority in which the premises is situated. Remember that a Personal Licence is only required for the supply of alcohol and not for any other “licensable activity”.
You mentioned regulated entertainment. What is this?
Generally it is the performance of a Play; and exhibition of a film; and indoor sporting event; a boxing or wrestling entertainment; a performance of live music; any playing of recorded music; a performance of dance; or entertainment of a similar description to the last three items mentioned. It is where the entertainment takes place in the presence of an audience for the purpose of providing entertainment to that audience. There are some exceptions.
I run a late night Takeaway, but don’t sell alcohol. I don’t think I have to apply for a Licence.
If you are supplying hot food or hot drink to members of the Public on or from any premises between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. then you are providing “Late Night Refreshment” which is a “licensable activity” for which you will require a “Premises Licence”.
Why choose Sternberg Reed for help with Alcohol Licensing Law?
We hold four independent accreditations for the quality of our service and are regularly audited to make sure that our standards remain high.
Who should I contact?
We can help you with your alcohol licensing law matters. You can either complete the on-line form or telephone our main switchboard on 020 8591 3366 and ask to speak to Julian Abraham.