Licensing Without Hiccups Review

    View Authors February 2011

    POLICE AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY BILL UNDER SCRUTINY

    The Police and Social Responsibility Bill is currently being scrutinised by the Bill Committee in Parliament. If the Bill is approved in its current form and becomes law, it will have a significant impact on the licensed trade. Proposals include:

     

    • The maximum fine you might incur for persistently selling alcohol to underage persons will be doubled. The maximum period for closure will also be significantly increased.
    • Licensing Authorities will have power to issue an “Early Morning Restriction Order” which would prevent you from selling alcohol during the period of the Order (any time between midnight and 6am) regardless of the hours specified on your Licence.
    • The Authorities will also be permitted to apply a “Late Night Levy”. If a Levy is applied and you sell alcohol during the specified period (again, any time between midnight and 6am) you will be required to pay an additional fee.
    • Temporary Event Notice procedures will be changed so that Environmental Health Officers can object to your application and conditions may be imposed. The good news is that late Notices will be acceptable under certain circumstances.
    • The requirement for Licence Conditions to be ‘necessary’ will be relaxed, with the new test being whether a Condition or step is ‘appropriate’. This may mean that you will have numerous additional Conditions attached by certain Authorities when you apply for new or varied Licences in their area.
    • There will be no requirement for persons who submit representations to live in the vicinity of a relevant premises. This may lead to ‘blanket’ objections, which in turn will mean more hearings and additional costs for operators.
    • Where annual fees are not paid on time, Licences will be suspended.
    • Licensing Authorities and Primary Care Trusts will become Responsible Authorities. This may make hearings more frequent, particularly as it will mean that Licensing Authorities will be able to instigate a Review of a Premises Licence without receiving a request to do so from any other body.

    We have prepared a Briefing Note summarising the main proposals in the Bill in relation to licensing. For a copy of the Briefing Note, email licensing@squirepb.com.