Alcohol Licence Law Personal licence holder

Published on August 9th, 2010 | by Dean Carr


Alcohol Licence – Do I need one?

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The Licensing Act 2003 regulates all aspects of the sale and supply of alcohol, the provision of regulated entertainment, and the provision of late night refreshment.

The licensing authority is now the relevant local authority (i.e. your local council.)  There is one licensing body for all licensing issues.

The Act amalgamated six existing licensing regimes:

  • alcohol
  • public entertainment
  • cinemas
  • theatres
  • late night refreshment houses
  • night cafés

There is a single integrated scheme for licensing premises which sell alcohol, provide entertainment for the public or provide refreshment late at night.  Four licensable activities are specifically named:

  • the sale by retail of alcohol
  • the supply of alcohol by or on behalf of a club, or to the order of a member of the club
  • the provision of regulated entertainment
  • The provision of late night refreshments (businesses offering hot food between 11pm and 5am).

The Act affects anyone who is concerned with:

  • pubs and nightclubs
  • off-licences
  • cinemas
  • private members’ clubs and social clubs
  • businesses offering hot food between 11pm and 5am
  • indoor sporting events
  • restaurants that serve alcohol
  • organisers of occasional events
  • theatres and amateur dramatic groups
  • hotels, guest houses and other places that sell alcohol

The licensing authority must promote the licensing objectives:

  • the prevention of crime and disorder
  • public safety
  • the prevention of public nuisance
  • the protection of children from harm

Licensees need a Premises Licence if any of the activities listed above are to take place at any premises within the Forest Heath district.  Conditions attached to a Premises Licence must be seen to promote the licensing objectives and be proportional in that aspect.

Licensees need a Personal Licence to sell or supply alcohol for consumption on or off any premises which have a Premises Licence in force.  A Personal Licence is issued for 10 years and is then renewable for further 10 year periods.  Applications for a Personal Licence should be made to the local council.  The council granting the initial licence will be responsible for continuing to license the applicant even if they move away from the area.

A Personal Licence cannot be granted to anyone less than 18 years of age.  An individual may only hold one Personal Licence at any one time.

Where the retailing of alcohol will take place, a Designated Premises Supervisor must be named on the Premises Licence. The Designated Premises Supervisor must also hold a Personal Licence.

While carrying out its licensing functions, a licensing authority must also have regard to:

  • its Statement of Licensing Policy
  • any guidance issued by the Secretary of State

Further information can be obtained from Personal Licence Training Ltd

Telephone: 0845 388 5472

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About the Author

Dean Carr

Dean has been involved in alcohol licensing for over 20 years and has helped many independent retailers and corporate clients obtain a licence to sell alcohol or offer late night refreshment, regulated entertainment from all sorts of premises. Dean writes articles for various trade related blogs and is currently Managing Director of the PLT group of companies who run APLH and SCPLH personal alcohol licence courses nationwide. You can contact Dean or a member of his expert licensing team on: 01242 222 188


  1. Jo says:

    We have a small cafe serving hot food until 8pm in the evening. Do we require a license for BYO wine only

  2. James says:

    We own a hairdressing salon. Do we require a licence in order that we may offer a complimentary glass of wine and mince pie at Christmas?

  3. ian says:

    can you help me?

    I am thinking of starting up my own business, which i would want to sell wine from a shop to the public and supply to pubs and restaurants. Which type of licence would i need?

  4. L Lanci says:

    If only storing wine in a warehouse does the warehouse requires licence?
    Thank you
    L Lanci

  5. Sarah says:

    Do we need a licence if we are holding a concert (tickets sold) if people bring their own booze. The concert is being held in a school.

  6. mike says:

    Hi, thanks for reply, no i’m not selling tickets as i’m just one display of many at an event, also no entertainment is provided, its just refreshments available for a donation to our chosen charity, i will contact the relevent council to try to clarify things though.

  7. Jeremy says:

    Thanks for the query.

    If you are selling tickets for the event, or charging for entry you will need a temporary event notice from your local council (although you are giving away the alcohol, if you sell tickets technically you are selling it). The temporary entertainments licence covers any entertainment you may be having (bands, etc), so you may need one of those as well depending on your plans. Get in touch with your local council, or our sponsers at Personal Licence Training Ltd (Contact details elswhere on this site).

  8. mike says:

    Hi, I’m planning on raising funds for Help for Heroes at an event by giving away beer for donations to the charity, all money raised is to be donated with no profit made etc, do i need a licence or temporary entertinments licence to do so legally?

  9. admin says:

    Hi thanks for your question regarding giving alcohol away with food at a fate! If there is no retail sale taking place then you would not require a personal licence, however you may require a Temporary Event Notice if: any form of regulated entertainment is taking place at the event or late night refreshment (sale of hot food or drink) after 11pm until 5am the following morning. A non personal licence holder may apply for 5 temporary events each year, this would normally be a charity or School PTA etc. Please take a look at the Licensing Act 2003 Permitted Temporary Events Also it is always advisable to speak to the licensing officer at the Local Council where the event is due to take place for further advice. The following link will help you locate the relevant Licensing Authority A – Z of Local Councils
    Thank you for your enquiry

  10. raymond parsons says:

    do i need alicence if giving beer away with food at a fete/fair.

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