Alcohol Licence Law Licensing laws

Published on January 10th, 2011 | by Dean Carr


loss of alcohol license and insurance

Licensing laws in the UK go back as far as the Gin Act of 1751, which allowed gin producers to sell gin on licensed premises only. Over the years, licensing laws have become more detailed and more complex in order to keep up with the changes in society and its drinking habits.

These days, in order to sell alcohol, premises need to have an appropriate alcohol license. There are two main varieties – an ‘on-license’ which is required where alcohol is going to be consumed on the premises and an ‘off-license’ where alcohol can be bought but only consumed off the premises. Many on-licensed premises are also allowed to make off-license sales.

License to sell

Applying for a license is quite an involved process. In England and Wales, the Licensing Act 2003 (which came into force in November 2005) introduced a unified system covering a range of ‘regulated activities’, which primarily included the retail sale of alcohol. Under the new rules, all premises where regulated activities are carried out must be authorised by a ‘premises license’. Where alcohol is sold the premises must have a designated premises supervisor, who himself must hold a personal license.

Rules as to when establishments can open, for how long, and under what criteria are contained in the conditions on each premises license, which are granted by the local/district council or local licensing authority, which is generally a magistrate. Anyone applying for a license has to demonstrate a suitable knowledge of licensing law.

Needless to say, if you are a shop, pub or restaurant that is selling alcohol then you are going to require a license to do so. And it also goes without saying that if you were running your business and, for some reason, you lost your license through no fault of your own, your business could suffer. Indeed, it could threaten your business with closure.

Don’t lose your livelihood

A license can be revoked or not renewed for a number of reasons, but the main causes are often issues surrounding crime and disorder, public nuisance, public safety and sale of alcohol to minors. As a legitimate business you may do your utmost to ensure that you operate within the licensing laws, but you may still find yourself on the wrong side of the law and lose your license. Thankfully, it is possible to take out a business insurance policy to cover yourself against such a loss. The insurance links is to Direct Line Insurance

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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

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