Using an alcohol licensing solicitor
The Licensing Act 2003 changed the law on alcohol licensing when it came into force on the 24th November 2005. Under this new Act the responsibility for granting alcohol licences now belongs to local authorities, who have been designated as licensing authorities. A business must apply to a licensing authority for a licence if they want to carry out the following activities:
- Retail sale of alcohol
- The supply of alcohol by or behalf of a club to, or to the order of, a member of the club
- Provision of late night refreshment
- Provision of regulated entertainment
In order to sell alcohol, a business must obtain two licenses from a licensing authority. The first licence is a premise licence. A premise licence can be held by either an individual or a business and the licence allows the holder to carry out the sale or supply of alcohol on the premises. A premise licence application must be advertised on the premises and in a local newspaper.
The second licence is a personal licence. This is granted to an individual who will be responsible for the sale of alcohol on the premises. The holder of a personal licence must sign a declaration that accompanies the application for a premise licence. An alcohol licensing solicitor can assist in the two applications necessary in order for a business to sell alcohol. A solicitor specialising in licensing law can also advise a business on applications to vary the conditions of a licence.
An alcohol licensing solicitor will be necessary if the licensing authority undertakes a review of the licence and adds conditions to the licence, or revokes it altogether under the Licensing Act 2003. A review can be called for by a member of the public, a concerned authority such as the police, or another business. The Licensing Act 2003 allows a party to appeal the licensing authority’s decision in the magistrates’ court. If the matter ends up in court, an alcohol licensing solicitor can represent their client in court.
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