Alcohol Licence Law Alcohol licence Scotland

Published on October 19th, 2011 | by Dean Carr


What are the main differences between the English and Welsh laws and the Scottish law?

The new licensing Act’s for Scotland, England and Wales are in fact very similar. The licensing Act for England & Wales was introduced in August 2005 and the Licensing Act for Scotland came into force in September 2009. Both Licensing Act’s require two types of licence to be in force to authorise the sale of alcohol to the general public these are as follows;

  • A premises licence
  • A personal licence holder

Every premises licence must have a nominated individual named on the licence as the person responsible for that licensed premises. This individual is known as

  • Designated Premises Supervisor or DPS (England & Wales)
  • Premises Manager (Scotland)

Both Licensing Act’s have a frame work on which they are based. this frame work is known as the licensing objectives. Scotland has five licensing objectives and England & Wales has four licensing objectives these are as follows;

England & Wales

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


  • Preventing crime or disorder
  • Securing public safety
  • Preventing public nuisance
  • Protecting and improving public health
  • protecting children from harm

Sale of alcohol from off licence premises or beer off  (Out-with hours) is restricted in Scotland to 10pm

All staff who work behind a bar or sales counter selling alcohol in Scotland must also have a minimum of two hours training on the Scottish licencing Act. (part time or full time – paid or un-paid)

Staff training records must also be kept by the premises manager in Scotland

Challenge 25 is now compulsory in Scotland and posters must be displayed. Challenge policy is quite simple anyone who appears under 25 years of age must prove they are over 18 to purchase alcohol or any other age restricted products

Underage Sales Notice; A notice regarding underage sales must also be displayed under licensing laws in Scotland.

There are a few more difference’s in both licensing Act’s. but in the main they are very similar to each other

The licensing qualifications for England, Wales and Scotland are known as;

  • APLH (Award for Personal Licence Holders) Level 2
  • SCPLH (Scottish Certificate for Personal Licence Holders) Level 5

Once you have obtain a certificate of training by passing an examination on either law you can then apply for a personal licence to sell alcohol.

In England & Wales you apply to the licensing authority where you reside and in Scotland you apply to your local licensing board. You will also be subject to a criminal records check when you apply for your personal alcohol licence.

  • Criminal Records Bureau (Basic CRB) check (England & Wales)
  • Police National Computer (PNC) check (Scotland)

If you have a relevant offence then the Police may make an objection to your personal licence being granted.

Once you have obtained your personal licence to sell alcohol by retail it is then valid for 10 years.

To apply for a personal licence you must be over 18 years old and hold the relevant accredited qualification.

In Scotland, England and Wales a personal Licence is a photo identification card with an individual licence number. A personal licence will also show your home address and be issued by your licensing  authority or licensing board.



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

Back to Top ↑

Read previous post:
Alcohol licence Scotland
Acceptable forms of id in Scotland

With the introduction of the new challenge 25 policy in Scotland staff are now required to ask for proof of...