Legal advice

When is it legal to refuse entry?

By James Evison contact

- Last updated on GMT

When is it legal to refuse entry?

Related tags: Law

Following the judgement on Wetherspoons and travellers, where does the law stand on refusal of entry?

Publican's Morning Advertiser​ legal specialist, Poppleston Allen, on the issue: 

"The age-old right of a licensee to refuse entry to whomever he or she wishes remains, but the reasons for any refusal must not be unlawful. Equality legislation makes it unlawful to refuse entry on the grounds of race, religion, sex or sexual orientation and disability amongst other things.

"At the same time, however, every licensee has a duty to promote the licensing objectives and if allowing a customer or customers to enter the premises would undermine those objectives then it would be lawful to refuse entry.

"If, for example, the reason for refusal is not because of someone’s race but because that person is a known troublemaker then the refusal would usually be lawful. It is when there is either outright discrimination or stereotyping of classes of people that discrimination occurs and is clearly unlawful.

"When contentious refusals are made it is worth noting the specific reasons in a refusals log justifying refusal on the grounds of prevention of crime and disorder, for example if the individual is banned by Pubwatch or has been involved in violence at another pub that night. Training your staff is also key. Much depends upon the facts of each case, but the days of “No Irish, no blacks, no dogs” are thankfully long gone."

Previous advice articles on refusal of entry - and previous news items about travellers and pubs:

Related topics: Legislation

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