EastEnders, The Queen Vic and licensing law
8 February 2017
As viewers of last night’s episode of EastEnders have learnt, breaching the terms of your licence conditions can have devastating effects: both on your business and on the individuals concerned.
Whilst some aspects have been dramatized for TV the message is clear – breach your licence conditions, especially by selling alcohol outside of permitted hours – and the repercussions could be severe.
Selling alcohol outside of permitted hours is not the only possible breach. There are also specific guidelines about the presence of a Personal Licence Holder on site – all sales of alcohol must be made or authorised by a Personal Licence Holder.
Best practice suggests that the persons authorised to sell alcohol are clearly identified by either a letter of delegated authority from the DPS (Designated Premises Supervisor) or similar by the premises licence holder. This would help demonstrate due diligence and knowledge of the licensing laws and could assist in avoiding prosecution. In addition, licence holders are recommended to have in place arrangements for monitoring the staff by the Personal Licence Holder of those authorised to make sales on their behalf on a regular basis.
With a breach of your licence conditions carrying penalties of an unlimited fine, six months imprisonment, or both in respect of each offence, it is clear the consequences can be severe. If there is a suspicion that you have breached your licence it is likely that you will be invited to an interview under caution. We strongly advise that you do not go to the interview without having a solicitor present. What you say in the interview could be used against you in court proceedings if charges are subsequently brought.
For expert advice on all your licensing needs please do not hesitate to contact Julie Gowland, Head of Birketts’ Licensing Team.
The content of this article is for general information only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. If you require any further information in relation to this article please contact the author in the first instance. Law covered as at February 2017.