Regulation & Enforcement
Whether your premises is based in England or Wales, compliance with regulations doesn’t end when you get your licence.
Alcohol can cause a raft of health and social problems if mistreated so the places that sell it are heavily regulated to ensure neighbours and customers are protected at all times.
That means that with the best will in the world, as the owner or manager of a place selling wine, beer or spirits you can quickly find yourself subject to all kinds of legal action on issues ranging from noise to public safety and under age sales.
As one of the largest specialist licensing solicitors in the UK, we can help provide guidance to help you navigate the regulation landscape, as simply and cost-effectively as possible.
As a premises license holder, you will be under scrutiny from the public and Licensing authorities to ensure you are fulfilling your licensing objectives, in the interest of public safety and to prevent crime, disorder and public nuisance.
Authorities will conduct licensing reviews on your business to ensure you are operating in line with the regulations of your Premises Licence and any directives of subsequent objections by affected parties, such as your neighbours, the local councillor or the relevant authorities.
In the event of a serious crime occurring on your premises, the police can instigate an expedited review wherein a review of your premises licence will be listed for 28 days and could be revoked based on the evidence against you. For more information and guidance on premises licence review regulations, take a look at our licensing review page.
Following a premises licence check, the licensing committee may make a decision that will affect your business. If you have any objections to these decisions you have the opportunity to lodge an appeal within 21 days of receiving the written reasons for the decision.
Before lodging your appeal however, you should review your case to evaluate your chance of success; appealing your case does not guarantee success. We can help to answer questions surrounding your case and help you to take the necessary steps to bring it to a satisfactory close.
Find out more about premises licence check appeals
Enforcement of the law
Part of your licensing objectives include upholding the law. Offences such as underage sales come with serious consequences, ranging from cautions and fixed penalty notices, to unlimited fines and the suspension or removal of a personal licence. The premises licence holder is still responsible for actions on the premises and as such can be penalised, even if it wasn’t them who made the sale.
Whilst not an explicit crime, noise complaints can lead to action being taken by the local authority to order you to take necessary steps to reduce noise levels in your premises. Failure to comply with these noise abatement notices can result in a criminal prosecution. It is therefore imperative that you take the right steps as soon as possible to allow you to continue to trade and operate without causing a nuisance to those around you.
Similarly to licensing authorities, Trading Standards Officers make regular inspections to licensed venues to check they are trading in line with best practise, according to the law. Evaporation of spirits, watering down drinks or passing off counterfeit Alcohol are some examples of activities that could trigger a trading standards investigation, which could then lead to criminal prosecution and a review of your premises licence.
Closure Notices and Orders
Your premises can be closed instantly by police or the local authority if they believe that your venue is the cause of disorder or nuisance by issuing a closure notice. Once they are transferred to the Magistrates’ court. A closure order can then keep your premises closed for 3 to 6 months, which would also trigger a review of your premises licence.
Due to the short time frames and serious nature of these decisions against your premises it is imperative that you seek legal advice as soon as you are handed a closure notice. We have lots of experience dealing with these situations and can help your case to have the greatest chance of success.
Find out more about closure notices and orders.
Spirits, wine, beer, cider or any other fermented distilled or spirituous liquid with an 0.5% or higher abv (alcohol by volume).
Club Premises Certificate
A certificate granted by a licensing authority under part 4 of Licensing Act 2003.
A licence issued pursuant to the Licensing Act 2003 or Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 as appropriate, authorising a defined area to be used for one or more licensable activity.