Age no barrier to licence
Q. My father recently celebrated his 75th birthday.
Is there an upper age limit for the holding of a personal licence? I had heard that there might be a cut-off age, due to capability. This would make it impossible for older licensees to run pubs in their own name.
A. A retirement age has not
been inserted into the Licensing Act and there is no legal bar to anyone holding a licence at
The only way in which this is relevant is if a brewery or other trade employer sets a retirement age for their employees, such
as pub managers. Under employment law, this is perfectly permissible and an employee must abide by the terms and conditions covering retirement. He or she cannot claim "unfair dismissal" if they are over the specified retirement age.
As far as the licensing authorities are concerned, however, renewal of a licence
will be made until such time as the person decides to give up.
In rare cases, the police have a power to object, but only on crime prevention grounds, not capability. In some cases in the past, age or infirmity has been held as a reason for refusing renewal, but this would not
Is Port a wine?
Q. Recently, a regular customer brought his son and daughter and the whole family in for a meal. He then asked for a glass of Port for the girl, who had just turned 16. I served them, but was not sure if this was legal. I said I would ask you.
A. Fortunately, the use of the word "wine" in the relevant permission under the Licensing Act is defined with reference to another Act as including fortified wines, such as Port and sherry and other aromatic drinks, together with sparkling wines, such as Champagne.
There is no specific definition within the Act itself, nor is there a reference to "table wine", which might ban fortified drinks. So my view is that such drinks would be allowed for 16-year-olds, purchased by an adult for consumption at a table meal.
Is Freeview allowed?
Q. Can you tell us whether Freeview channels are allowed to be shown to pub customers in place of Sky?
A. Well, of course you will not be able to access the same sporting programmes, but in general terms the use of a Freeview box would be treated in the same way as normal television programmes relayed through a standard aerial.
Section 72 of the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act 1988 permits the free public showing or playing of broadcast or cable television programmes without infringing copyright. The showing must, however, be genuinely free and no charge may be made for admission or by way of increased drink prices for the particular event being shown.
Licence on premises
Q. Recently, a police officer demanded to see the original premises licence, which is held by our operating company.
I told him this and showed him the summary posted up, but
he said the licence itself had
to be kept on the premises.
Is he right?
A. Yes, he is. For some reason, the Government decided that the original pieces of paper (or a certified copy) have to be physically kept on the relevant premises and the Licensing Act has a complete scheme for the holding of the licence and someone to be in charge of it.
In these days of electronic communication it seems rather irrational, but it was never challenged in Parliament and the officer is within his rights to demand access to it, although for what reason remains unclear. Your operating company should ensure the original or a proper copy is returned to the pub for you to take charge of.
Under the old law there was technically no minimum legal age for holding a justices' licence. But under the 2003 Act, a person must have reached the age of 18 before they can apply for a personal licence.