Fears over Home Office record on licensing

By Ewan Turney

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Licensing act Proposals Drinking culture

Home Office: concern over its track record
Home Office: concern over its track record
A firm of top licensing solicitors has warned the Government it would be "wholly wrong" to implement changes to the Licensing Act in the autumn...

A firm of top licensing solicitors has warned the Government it would be "wholly wrong" to implement changes to the Licensing Act in the autumn because the Home Office has "limited experience" in dealing with licensing legislation.

In response to the planned "overhaul" of licensing "overhaul" of licensing​, Poppleston Allen slammed the truncated six-week consultation period, which goes against the Government's own requirements for a minimum of 12 weeks.

It said the Home Office's previous handling of Alcohol Disorder Zones and the Mandatory Code did not bode well.

"It is arguable that they [the proposed changes] are at least as complex as the Licensing Act 2003, which followed two or three years of detailed consultation," it said.

"The proposals should be set out in a new Licensing Act after a proper consultation."

The firm gave short shrift to proposals to apply existing licensing conditions on Temporary Events Notices (TENs), reduce the number of them and increase the time for police to raise objections with the exception of village hall events. It said the proposals "have not been properly thought through and are confusing".

"It seems totally unnecessary to increase the total time needed for a TEN. To suggest that premises such as a pub would have to provide longer periods of notice than a village community event seems utterly ridiculous...if anything they should be required to give a shorter period of notice than some individual applying for a community event with no experience or knowledge of selling alcohol."

The solicitors also hit out at plans for local authorities to hear appeals rather than magistrates, saying it would "clearly be open to abuse". It said: "This proposal, together with a number of others, also appears to be contrary to the current legislation on human rights."


Extending Early Morning Restriction Orders is a "sledgehammer" approach and could lead to a "considerable amount" of unsupervised drinking of cheap supermarket alcohol taking place at home, it added.

Poppleston Alen said it could not see how a health objective could be retrospectively introduced to the Licensing Act. "We also believe that the creation of a new licensing objective now would make life very difficult very difficult for the 200,000 or so premises that have already got a licence based upon the existing four licensing objectives.

"Will the condition be retrospectively applied to every single licensed premises? In our view that would be totally unfair."

It believes the Government will have "considerable difficulties in imposing a minimum price".

Related topics Licensing law

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