New Mandatory Licensing Conditions and Guidance

Posted: Tuesday, 23 September 2014 @ 10:09

The Licensing Act 2003 (Mandatory Licensing Conditions)(Amendment) Order 2014 comes into effect on 1 October 2014, and to mark this event the Government have issues a new Guidance on the mandatory conditions.

Essentially the 5 mandatory conditions have bee condensed into 4, the evil dispensing directly into the mouth, the so-called Dentist's Chair trick, losing it's separate billing and appearing in the irresponsible promotions stable.

So what other tricks have the Government been up to? Essentially strengthening the irresponsible promotions condition, and also stepping up the pressure to ensure that smaller measures are brought to the attention of the customer.

Running through them one by one:

  1. Irresponsible Promotions:

    No longer is the responsible person required to take "all reasonable steps to ensure" that irresponsible promotions do not take place. Now there is a much more demanding "must ensure".

    Also the words "in a manner which carries a significant risk of leading or contributing to crime and disorder, prejudice to public safety, public nuisance, or harm to children" have been removed, and replaced as far as promotions of free or fixed price or discounted alcohol are concerned, with the word "in a manner which carries "a significant risk of undermining a licensing objective".

    Significantly, the sale or supply of alcohol with a table meal was exempt under the previous provisions. Not so from 1 October. There will be a run off period for tickets sold on or before 30 September and used by 5 April 2015.
  2. Free Water: only tinkering here. Free "tap water" becomes free "Potable Water". In other words it must be suitable for human consumption! And need not come out of a tap.
  3. Age Verification Policy: again only tinkering. In the alternative to a hologram, the ID may have an "ultraviolet feature".
  4. Measures:

    To recap, the smaller measures must still be available, with more stringent requirements to bring them to the attention of the customer. So we are talking about 1/2 pint for beer or cider, 25ml or 35ml for gin, rum, vodka and whisky, and 125ml for still wine in a glass.

    The availability of these small measures must be displayed in a menu, price list, or other printed material available to a customer on the premises. Significantly, if a customer does not ask for a specific amount, the customer must then be made aware that the smaller measures are available.

Alongside the new Order on the Mandatory Conditions, the Government have published a Guidance on Mandatory Licensing Conditions.

The Guidance makes it clear that responsibility for ensuring compliance with these Mandatory Conditions falls on the "responsible person", who is identified as the holder of the Premises Licence, the designated premises supervisor (DPS), and any individual aged 18 or over who is authorised to sell alcohol by the licence holder or DPS. For a club with a Club Premises Certificate it will be any member or officer on the premises in a capacity which enables him to prevent the supply in question.


Nigel Musgrove
Licensing Law Specialist
Tel: 0845 003 5639

Blog by Nigel Musgrove
Nigel has been providing dispute resolution advice as a solicitor for over 35 years. As well as advising SMEs and business owners on disputes he also offers a specialist licensing law service. View profile
Call Nigel on +44 (0)1285 847 001 or by email
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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