What are licensing conditions?
Licensing conditions are restrictions attached to a licensing permission which dictate how the premises can operate.
Are they legally binding?
Yes, they are. Pursuant to section 136 of the Licensing Act 2003 it is an offence to carry on or attempt to carry on a licensable activity on or from any premises other than under and in accordance with an authorisation. A person guilty of this offence is liable to be imprisoned for up to 6 months and/or an unlimited fine.
Are there standard licences conditions?
All premises licences and club premises certificates have mandatory conditions which, for example, restrict irresponsible promotions and dictate drinks measures. The other conditions on a permission will be unique to that premises.
What dictates the licensing conditions on a permission?
Conditions are either proffered with an application for a new permission/variation or placed on the permission by a licensing sub-committee (whether this is because an application has received relevant representations or following a review hearing).
Can anything be added as a condition on a permission?
Licensing conditions need to be appropriate for the promotion of the licensing objectives, precise and enforceable. They cannot seek to control the behaviour of patrons after they have left a premises and should not duplicate other legislation.
Is this always the case?
No. Permissions often have conditions which are confusing, unenforceable, irrelevant or simply vague (for example: ‘The Premises Licence holder shall ensure good standards of management at all times’). Such conditions can often be removed by way of a minor variation. While there is no set wording for conditions, some councils have a basket of model conditions they look to in the first instance.
How do I prevent unsuitable licensing conditions being placed on the permission in the first place?
When preparing an application, the operating schedule should clearly state what licensing conditions the applicant is proffering. The conditions should reflect the style of operation and council policy. If representations are received and negotiated, any agreed conditions should be documented in writing and, if the application proceeds to a licensing sub-committee hearing, proactively suggesting the wording for any additional conditions reduces the chances of conditions being placed on any permission which are unclear, unenforceable or unworkable.
If you have any further questions relating to the above, please contact Niall McCann using the details below.
This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. It should not be used as a substitute for legal advice relating to your particular circumstances. Please note that the law may have changed since the date of this article.