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Licensing Act 2003

The purpose of the system of licensing for licensable activities is to promote the four objectives, which are the prevention of crime and disorder; public safety; the prevention of public nuisance; and the protection of children from harm.

The system of licensing is achieved through the provision of authorisations through personal licences, premises licences, club premises certificates and temporary event notices.

Personal licences authorise individuals to sell or supply alcohol, or authorise the sale or supply of alcohol.

A premises licence authorises the holder of the licence to use the premises to which the licence relates for licensable activities. The premises licence details operating conditions, such as opening hours, and when music can be played.

Club premises certificates provide authorisation for qualifying clubs to use club premises for qualifying club activities.

Personal licences, premises licences and club premises certificates are granted by licensing authorities under the Act, which generally will be the local authority for the area in which the premises are situated or, in the case of personal licences, in which the individual applicant is normally resident.

In addition, the Act establishes new arrangements for the carrying on of licensable activities at occasional, temporary events. They apply in relation to events with less than 500 people attending.

The Act provides licensing authorities with the power, on review of a premises licence, to suspend or revoke the licence, to exclude specific licensable activities from the licence, or to change the operating conditions attaching to the licence. These powers must be exercised with a view to promoting the licensing objectives.

In addition, the Act confers powers on the police to close licensed premises to deal expeditiously with disorderly behaviour and excessive noise; these powers are both anticipatory and reactive.

The legislation is complex and there are severe penalties if it is not complied with, which include lengthy custodial sentences and substantial fines.

Jodie Leonard is experienced in all areas of the Licensing Act 2003; from the basics of applying for a premises licence, up to conducting hearings in front of the local licensing committee. You may wish to apply for a licence; vary an existing licence; or you may be at risk of being reviewed by the local authority, or - more worryingly, if you run the business, at risk of being closed down by the police.

Telephone us for straightforward and helpful advice. We can also assist insolvency practitioners who are dealing with cases involving licensed premises.