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Review and cancellation of personal licence Q. Can a licensing officer call in a personal licence for review and can it be cancelled, like a driving...

Review and cancellation of personal licence

Q. Can a licensing officer call in a personal licence for review and can it be cancelled, like a driving licence?

A. Two separate questions here. The first is a non-starter: there is no provision under the new licensing laws for an officer of the council unilaterally to call in a personal licence for review. In fact, the review process does not apply to personal licences at all. It is a scheme for premises licences and can only be started by one of the "responsible authorities" such as the police, or on complaint by a neighbour.

The situation for personal licences is quite different. The only way a licence may be actually cancelled is by the court that convicts the holder of a "relevant offence". Suspension or forfeiture of the licence is an additional penalty, but it can only be handed down by the magistrates or a judge.

The local authority only has power to cancel a licence where a conviction during the application period for grant or renewal comes to light.

Obviously, there have been no renewals yet, and conviction during the application period is very rare. So any threat to call in and cancel your personal licence cannot be realistic.

Legality of toddlers' club in the bar

Q. We have a toddlers' club, which meets on Sunday mornings when the bar is closed. It is all supervised by trained staff. Someone has now suggested that it is illegal for children to be dropped off for this event, as they are not "accompanied" on the premises. Is this true?

A. This issue has come up before and I am glad to reassure you. Fortunately, the wording of the new Licensing Act is very clear: the fact that the bar is closed is sufficient to remove the restriction.

Section 145 of the Act states that a person commits an offence if he allows an unaccompanied child (under 16) to be in the part of the premises exclusively or primarily used for the supply of alcohol for consumption on the premises.

But the offence can only be committed "at a time when (the premises) are open for the purposes of being used for the supply of alcohol for consumption there". If you have not opened the bar, then there can be no offence.

In any case, as you have pointed out, the children are passed into the care of trained staff by their parents, which is as it should be. This means in any case that they are not unaccompanied, as nothing in the Act says that the accompanying adult has to be a parent. It can be a teacher, a coach or manager (of a

football team) or some other responsible adult.

Nothing also requires each child to be accompanied by an adult. The object is to prevent those under 16 from wandering into a pub on their own, which was not illegal under the old law, but rarely happened.

Using pub phones and mobiles to place bets

Q. Someone has challenged your recent answer about using the pub phone for bets. They say that this makes the licensee a betting accessory and is therefore illegal. Mobiles are OK.

A. I don't think so. The betting transaction has nothing to do with the licensee in such a case. The actual acceptance of the bet takes place at the bookie's. Use of the phone is merely a facility; the user could be phoning anyone for any reason.

It is only where the licensee or his staff act in some way with regard to the betting transaction itself that there is a problem. For example, if they transmit bets from customers to the bookie, or use their own account, that would land them in trouble. But not the pub phone, placed there for the use of customers.

Clearly, using a mobile to

place a bet has no connection at all with the licensee and is perfectly legal.

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