Posted: Wednesday, 8 April 2015 @ 11:11
The Licensing Act 2003, which came into force in 2005, brought with it far reaching and often nonsensical regulation of entertainment. Since then a series of deregulation measures have addressed the over abundance of red tape. The latest, and probably last, changes came into effect on 6 April 2015.
Let us first of all recap on what constitutes "regulated entertainment", which is a licensable activity requiring a Premises Licence or Club Premises Certificate (or subject to a Temporary Event Notice).
- a performance of a play
- an exhibition of a film
- an indoor sporting event
- a boxing or wrestling entertainment
- a performance of live music
- any playing of recorded music
- a performance of dance
- entertainment of a similar description to a performance of live music, any playing of recorded music or a performance of dance
But to be licensable any such activity must be to entertain an audience, held on premises for that purpose, and take place in the presence of a public audience. If it is a private event then it will only be licensable if a charge is made with the intention of making a profit. So a private event charging just to cover costs will not make it licensable. Further detail can be gleaned by looking at Chapter 15 of new Statutory Guidance, particularly paragraphs 15.11-15.14.
But there are exemptions, a long list in fact! So the following do not require a licence:
- stand-up comedy
- Morris dancing (or similar)
- incidental music
- incidental film
- live TV or radio broadcasts
- garden fetes if not for private gain
- entertainment facilities
- spontaneous performance of music singing or dancing
For the full list see paragraph 15.5 of the Statutory Guidance.
In addition, since 6 April the position on regulated entertainment has further relaxed, so that no licence is required for the following activities, in some case subject to maximum numbers and hours when they take place:
-unamplified music between 08:00 and 23:00 on any day on any premises.
-amplified music between 08:00 and 23:00 on premises authorised to sell alcohol for consumption on the premises, subject to a maximum audience of 500.
-amplified music between 08:00 and 23:00 in a workplace not licensed to sell alcohol, subject to a maximum audience of 500
-amplified live music between 08:00 and 23:00 in a church hall, village hall, or other community premises not licensed to sell alcohol, subject to a maximum of 500 and subject to consent from the venue authorities.
-similar exemption for non-residential premises of local authorities, schools, and hospitals.
- note that Karaoke is considered live music. Also note that a beer garden and the like can be used for live music if shown on the plan of the Premises Licence or Club Premises Certificate. Even if they are not, they are likely to be workplaces and subject to the exemption which applies there. But note that the workplace exemption does not apply to recorded music, so if the beer garden is not on the plan it is not exempt at all and will require licensing for recorded music.
-between 08:00 and 23:00 on premises authorised to sell alcohol for consumption on the premises subject to a maximum audience of 500. Again note that this will not include the beer garden if it is not on the licence plan.
-between 08:00 and 23:00 in a church hall, village hall, or other community premises not licensed to sell alcohol, subject to a maximum of 500 and subject to consent from the venue authorities.
-similar exemption for non-residential premises of local authorities, schools, and hospitals
Also note that the Licensing Authority has the power to remove the exemptions but only if and when it carries out a formal Review of the Premises Licence of Club premises Certificate.
But there may already be conditions imposed prior to 6 April 2015 on a Premises Licence or Club Premises Certificate, or imposed on an application for a new licence. These will be suspended so far as live music and recorded music are concerned so far as it takes place between 08:00 and 23:00 and the premises are open for sale or supply of alcohol for consumption on the premises and if amplified music with a maximum audience of 500.
Dancing on its own by the public is not regulated entertainment. A performance of dance for a public audience is. But of course the live or recorded music accompanying the dancing is regulated entertainment and will require licensing unless it comes within the exemptions.
There are also relaxations for films, performance of plays, performances of dance, and indoor sporting events.
It is all very complicated, and it is recommended that if any entertainment is planned then first of all read Chapter 15 of the Statutory Guidance. It may also be wise to obtain legal advice, particularly if you have a dispute with any of the authorities or neighbours.
Licensing Law Specialist
Tel: 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.