Personal licence

‘Ignorant’ courts fail to punish convicted personal licence holders

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Evidence gathered: Poppleston Allen issued a freedom of information request
Evidence gathered: Poppleston Allen issued a freedom of information request

Related tags Personal licence Personal licence holders License Court

Licensing solicitor Poppleston Allen has claimed a lack of action taken by courts against convicted personal licence holders is down to ignorance.

The legal specialist discovered that despite 572 prosecutions against people who continued licensable activities either without a licence or in breach of licence conditions, just 84 faced any action.

Poppleston Allen managing partner Jonathan Smith said: “In 10 years, across 120 licensing authorities, only 48 personal licences​ have been revoked and 36 suspended by magistrates or crown courts.”

The reason is ignorance

Smith believes there are potentially three reasons for this: “Ignorance on behalf of personal licence holders of the requirement to advise the court that they hold a personal licence​.

“Possible ignorance on behalf of the Crown Prosecution Service as to the consequence of someone being convicted of a relevant offence if they hold a personal licence.

“Possible ignorance on behalf of the magistrates’ court as to the fact that action can be taken against a personal licence and the effect that would have.”

To gather its evidence, Poppleston Allen issued freedom of information requests to 184 licensing authorities to ascertain the effects of the Licensing Act 2003, which was passed just over 10 years ago.

Surprised at so many prosecutions

Of the authorities contacted, 77 replied regarding personal licence application objections, prosecutions under the act and action taken by the courts against convicted personal licence holders.

The results revealed the police objected to 303 personal licence applications of which 235 proceeded to hearings (others were withdrawn); 67 of those 235 were granted while the remaining 168 were refused.

Two authorities were particularly stout when it came to prosecutions. Of the 572 convictions, Blackpool and Cardiff accounted for 130 and 105 respectively.

Smith added: “I was surprised that there had been so many prosecutions, albeit if the two licensing authorities identified were removed from the stats, this in fact would only leave 337 between the remaining 75 licensing authorities or about five each.”

Related topics Licensing law

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