by Richard Williams of thePublican.com's legal team of experts from London solicitors Joelson Wilson
If you are still waiting for legislation to be passed to extend your New Year's Eve hours, then I would recommend that you take action now if you don't want to be forced to shut your doors before midnight.
This will be the third year running that the government has not got its act together. How many years do they need to get it right? The problem is that the proposal to allow 36-hour opening over New Year is still to be debated in the House of Commons, leaving licensees with the usual level of uncertainty as to what they can offer in the way of entertainment over New Year.
If you want certainty, the answer is to apply for a special order of exemption. Such applications are made to your local magistrates and the fee is £10. You will normally need to serve the police with a copy of your application and you should give a minimum of seven days notice to the court prior to the event.
In London, applications are made directly to the police without the court being involved. You would be well advised to submit an application as soon as possible. Some courts will agree to deal with applications by post and most will have produced an agreed policy about New Year extensions by now.
Remember that if you don't make an application, the government may not change the law in time and you will be stuck with regular licensed hours on New Year's Eve.