Licensing under the Licensing Act 2003

Licensing under the Licensing Act 2003

The licensing of the supply of liquor is now governed by the Licensing Act 2003.

Responsibility for the new system

Local Authorities have taken over the administration of the system. Whereas previously an alcohol licence was obtained through the Magistrates and an entertainment licence through the Local Authority both are now covered by one licence, issued by the Local Authority, called a “Premises Licence”. This specifies the “licensable activities” which are allowed at the premises.

For a premises licence allowing the sale of alcohol there has to be a “Designated Premises Supervisor” who has to hold a “Personal Licence”.

So to sell alcohol there must be two licences in place : a premises licence and a personal licence held by a designated premises supervisor.

What are licensable activities?

These include :
• Sale of alcohol (or the supply in the case of a Club)
• Regulated entertainment
• Late night refreshment

Regulated entertainment

This is broken down into plays, films, indoor sporting events, boxing or wrestling entertainment, live music, recorded music, performances of dance, making music, dancing and other similar forms of entertainment.

Late night refreshment

This amounts to the sale of hot food between 11.00pm and 05.00am.

What if the premises are a Club?

Whereas a pub or restaurant would hold a “Premises Licence” a qualifying Club would be granted a “Club Premises Certificate” .

The Daily Mail says that pubs can open for 24 hours – is that correct?

It is possible to apply for a 24 hour licence. Whilst some public houses in appropriate locations have been granted 24 hour licences these are permissory only and very few will operate throughout the whole day and night. Some venues are appropriate for 24 hour licences for example an outlet at an airport but the guidance offered to Local Authorities is being fine tuned so that there will be a greater resistance to the granting of licences for anti-social hours.

Nigel Pepper, Consultant has substantial experience in acting for applicants and objectors to licence applications and will be pleased to discuss with you the services that we can provide.

Telephone : 01785 211411
E-mail :

Published on web site – April 2007


The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances. (50587)