Licensing in 2015

Posted: Tuesday, 20 January 2015 @ 13:47

I will now take a look at what is in store for the licensing world in 2015.

The unknown quantity is of course the looming general election in May. I suspect that whatever happens it may have an impact on parliamentary business, and legislation in the pipeline may well be delayed yet further. And of course there may be changes afoot if there is a change in government. Oh for a crystal ball!

Personal Licences

In may last few blogs I covered the changes in Personal Licence renewals. We now have all the necessary legislation including forms in place to deal with the interim renewal procedures, but I suspect that the main change relieving all holders of the need to renew will not get on to the statute books until late in the year, particularly because of the election, and therefore my advice to all Personal Licence holders is to renew under the interim procedures.

The interim procedure does not need a new photograph, criminal record check, or payment of a fee.

Live Music

The Live Music Act allows live entertainment between 8am and 11pm, but subject to limits on the audience numbers. At present it is 200, and the change, which should come into effect on 6 April 2015, will be to increase the number to 500. At the same time recorded music will also be allowed within the same hours and subject to a maximum audience of 500. If the audience exceeds that or the event is outside the hours of 8am to 11pm, it will be necessary to have regulated entertainment as a licensable activity on the Premises Licence.

Further detail can be gleaned by looking at the Department for Culture Media and Sport’s Working Draft on the proposed revision to Chapter 15 of the Amended Statutory Guidance.

Powers of Entry

The Home Office recently conducted a review of powers of entry of responsible authorities carrying out their statutory duties. As a result there is a new Code of Conduct.

However, it should be noted that the Code does not override statutory powers to conduct routine inspections or to enter premises for enforcement purposes. It is therefore debateable whether this new code will reduce the number of unannounced police visits to licensed premises, but at least it may provide a brake on excess activities.

Under the code a Notice of Powers and Rights should be given in advance of the visit, reasonable notice should be given (usually not less than 48 hours notice) unless it would frustrate the purposes of the entry. The Notice should give information such as whether the entry will be with or without a warrant, the power of entry and associated powers used, the occupier’s rights, any compensation or complaints procedures that exist, and where a copy of the Code may be obtained.

Community and Ancillary Sellers Notice

The Deregulation Bill provides for a new type of authorisation to sell alcohol, to help charities, community groups, and bed and breakfast providers, obvious low risk sellers. It will relieve them of the need and cost of applying for a Premises Licence, and will also release them from the restrictions on numbers of Temporary Event Notices they can apply for. But it is likely that there will be restrictions on the amount of alcohol which can be sold and the hours of sale.

Temporary Event Notices

Again, the Deregulation Bill promises an increase in the number of Temporary Event Notices from the current 12 per calendar year to 15 per calendar year. This is scheduled for 2016.

Loss of Licenses

Another minor change, but welcome reduction in red tape, is the proposal to scrap the current need for holders of licences, Premises and Personal, to report any loss to the police.

Nigel Musgrove
Licensing Law Specialist
Tel: 0845 003 5639

For free advice on this topic please call us on 0845 003 5639.

This blog is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor is it intended to be a complete and authoritative statement of the law, and what we say might be out of date by the time you read it. You should always seek legal advice to confirm whether or how any information in this article applies to your particular situation. We offer a free telephone consultation to discuss your particular circumstances.


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