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Licensing news, England & Wales, June 2016

Alcohol & entertainment licensing news

Gambling news

Other licensing news

Lords Licensing Committee to review Licensing Act 2003

It was announced at the end of May that a House of Lords Committee has been established to look at and report on the Licensing Act 2003. It has been asked to report by 31 March 2017.

Among the 12 Lords appointed to the committee is Lord Clement-Jones, the author and proposer of the Live Music Act in 2012, which had the effect of permitting live music in premises licensed to sell alcohol without the need for a specific permission.

The committee's remit is wide insofar as it can take into account the views of any party it feels may have an interest, before reporting. As such, it has to be hoped that they will look to hear from the vast range of people affected by the Licensing Act, including a range of operators, as well as local authorities, police and some of lobbies who will no doubt want to have their say.

The committee Clerk, Michael Collon can be reached through the Parliament website, so anyone interested in either making a contribution or finding out more as the committee starts to get itself going.

We will look to keep you updated as we hear more. Whilst the Committee may not have the power to change things, its report will certainly give a good flavour of what issues can be expected to be faced around the bend…

Forget the Euro's: Here come the Olympics…

The Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro officially begins on the 5 August, ending on 21 August. In terms of timezones, Rio sits four hours behind the UK (during British summertime) and as such, some events are likely to take place later in the evening than with the London games. 

From a licensing point of view therefore, premises intending to open for the Olympics will need to check what permissions they have and whether they need to apply to ensure they can show the main events. For instance, the scheduled times for the following late starting events may need looking at:

  • Opening ceremony (5 August) 11:15pm
  • Swimming men's and women's finals (6 -12 August) some starting at 2am
  • Men's 10K final and Heptathlon final (13 August) between 1:55am and 2:45am
  • Men's 100m and 400m final (14 August) between 2am and 2:25am
  • Women's 400m final (15 August) 2:45am
  • Women's 200m and 100m hurdle finals (17 August) between 2.30am and 2.55am
  • Men's 200m final (18 August) 2:30am
  • 4x100m relays (men and women) (19 August) between 2:15am and 2:35am
  • Men's 5,000m and 4x400m relays (men and women) (20 August) between 1:30am and 2:35am
  • Closing ceremony (21 August) 11:15pm

Whilst showing live TV does not require a licence, serving alcohol, hot drinks, or hot food does. There are a number of potential ways of ensuring you have the correct permission:

  • hours granted for the activities required at the wanted times
  • some licences have a condition on them permitting premises to open and provide licensable activities during major sporting events (sometimes on prior notice to the police/ council)
  • TENs.

Unless you already have the hours or condition that already permits these activities, should you want to go down the route of varying your licence to allow this, you will need to apply immediately and will also want to look at TENs for the first few weeks in case the matter goes to a licensing hearing, which can take up to two months from application to grant.

If you are thinking of using TEN's, you will need to plan carefully to ensure that you use the 21 days you have over 15 'events' to ensure you are open for the nights you want. Don't forget, a TEN can only last a maximum of 7 days and there must be a 24-hour gap between TEN's.

Lessons to learn from the Councillor's 'rant'

A Councilor, widely reported in the press to have abused door staff and threatened to have a premises shut down when his partner was refused entry, learned a salutary lesson about modern technology when he was filmed on a doorman's body-cam. Whilst not all premises should have door staff- let alone body cam's to capture these moments, the power of proper incident recording cannot be missed.

In all cases, making a careful note of what is being said, with enough detail to identify the context, can be very helpful if it comes to a case of having to argue one person's word against the others, sometimes a long time down the line. Likewise, if there is good cause to retain CCTV, this is permissible, so long as the CCTV is only kept for a specific purpose and deleted thereafter.

New Rules on targeting crime

The Gambling Commission has published new rules to target crime associated with gambling.

Following a consultation in 2015 the Commission has drafted new rules, which will come in to force later in 2016, to tackle crime linked to gambling.

Moving forward operators will have to:

  • undertake assessments to identify the risk of money laundering
  • draft policies, procedures and implement measures to deal with the threat of money laundering
  • report any criminal investigations involving them or their premises to the Commission
  • have systems in place to prevent employees from taking advantage of suspicious or irregular betting patterns.

Psychoactive Substances Act 2016

Legal highs are no longer legal after the introduction of the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016.

Selling legal highs is now a criminal offence carrying a maximum seven year prison sentence.

Police are understood to be targeting shops and online retailers who sell the drugs and/ or the paraphernalia. The crackdown will also focus on “pop-ups” and festivals across Scotland and the UK as a whole.

Out and about

June 2016 is an exciting month for many reasons, not least for sporting reasons, as well as the small matter of a referendum. However, May was busy with enforcement hearings in the form of reviews, as well as client meetings across the country.

Of particular interest has been an increase in sophistication of Local Authority decision-making in relation to tricky review applications. It seems that as licensing policies become more sophisticated in many local authority areas, so the committees and their advisers seem to be grasping the nettle when it comes to testing evidence and making their decisions. In particular, we have been before committees at two separate reviews where they have questioned police evidence thoroughly and given a lot of thought to what effect their decisions are likely to have- not just in terms of the immediate benefit of their decision, but also the likely longer-term consequences.

This publication is intended for general guidance and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at June 2016. Specific advice should be sought for specific cases. For more information see our terms & conditions.

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