Licensing Act 2003

Licensing Authorities must perform their duties according to the four 'licensing objectives' contained in the Act (Section 4). These are:

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

Licensable activities

There are four licensable activities contained within the Act (Section 1):

  • The 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 a club
  • The provision of regulated entertainment
  • The provision of late night refreshment (Late night refreshment is where hot food or drink is supplied to members of the public, on, or from any premises, whether for consumption on or off the premises between the hours of 11.00pm and 5.00am)

Types of licences

  • Personal licence - This is a portable licence granted to an individual enabling him/her to sell alcohol at a premises licensed for the sale of alcohol
  • Premises licence - This is a licence granted to a specific premises and will specify the nature of the licensable activity and any applicable conditions
  • Club premises certificate - This is a licence granting 'qualifying club' status to specific premises, according to a number of qualifying conditions, including the provision that there are at least 25 members and that alcohol is only supplied by or on behalf of the club
  • Temporary Event Notice - This 'notice' permits specified licensable activities for a restricted period (maximum 168 hours). There are a number of further limitations with regard to such 'notices' detailed in Part 5, Section 107 of the Act
  • Provisional Statement - This is an 'interim statement' regarding the provision of a premises licence, where the premises has not yet been built and provides the investors with some degree of certainty as to the future use of the premises

Key exemptions in the Act

  • Place of Worship (Schedule 1, Part 2 Exemptions) - Premises such as churches do not require a premises licence for activities which would otherwise be classified as 'regulated entertainment' taking place at the church
  • Garden Fetes, etc. (Schedule 1, Part 2 Exemptions) - Entertainment provided at a garden fete, or similar event, is not 'regulated entertainment' and thus requires no licence

Live music in premises

Live music is no longer a licensable activity providing the following conditions are met:

  • live music is unamplified in all venues
  • amplified live music is before an audience of no more than 200 people on premises authorised to supply alcohol for consumption on the premises
  • amplified live music is taking place before an audience of no more than 200 people in workplaces not licensed under the 2003 Act
  • the music event must only take place between the hours of 8am and 11pm on any day

'Operating schedules'

An 'operating schedule' is required as part of a premises licence/club premises certificate application. Whilst the precise detail of each will be slightly different the key details on the 'operating schedule' will be:

  • when and which of the licensable activities are planned to take place at the premises
  • other times when the public will be present at the premises
  • who the designated premises supervisor is
  • the steps the licence holder will take to promote the licensing objectives

Further detail is expected in regulations issued by the secretary of state.

Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS)

A designated premises supervisor must hold a personal licence and is the person specified on the premises licence responsible for authorising the supply of alcohol. This person must be readily identifiable and will normally be given day to day responsibility for running the premises.

Licensing act regulations and statutory guidance

Licensing act regulations, statutory guidance as well as The Regulatory Impact Assessment (which is part of the Licensing Act) can be viewed on the Department for Culture, Media and Sport website.

Also see

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