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Legal top tips: How simple errors can prove costly

By Poppleston Allen

- Last updated on GMT

Spell it out: be precise when setting out your plans for door staff
Spell it out: be precise when setting out your plans for door staff

Related tags: Licensing

Sometimes the easiest of tasks pose the direst of consequences if you get them wrong. I have often seen applications rejected, stalled or have unintended consequences for the simplest of mistakes.

Here, in no particular order are a few tips to remember should you choose to issue an application yourself.

  • Make sure you are using the right form and that it is served on all the relevant authorities (using a council’s online service where available can solve this in a trice);
  • Attach all the relevant enclosures be they plans, the original premises licence, signed consents and any relevant declarations ( for example, in respect of a right to work in the UK). Failure to do so will result in a delay;
  • Be mindful of opening a can of worms. If you are making an application you are voluntarily bringing yourself to the attention of the authorities, so make sure your house is in order before doing so. ­ is can be as simple as your licence plans being out of date and what hitherto hadn’t been a problem for the last 10 years now becoming one because everybody suddenly realises that your first floor function room isn’t actually licensed at all. Check that you are licensed in all the right areas and that you are complying with all the current conditions on your licence;
  • ­Be careful what you wish for. If you apply for extended hours and put in your suggested conditions “two door staff will be employed from 9:00pm” thinking it will only apply on the Friday and Saturday nights you have sought to vary in your application, be careful to check the licence, if granted, to ensure that this is the case, rather than applying every night of the week. Better still, make your suggested conditions watertight by specifying what days and times they relate to, and that they will only apply if the application is granted in full;
  • Make sure your notices (pale blue for a full variation, white for a minor one) are displayed for the correct period and consistently throughout that period. Place them behind window so they can be seen but are safe from mischievous passers-by. Licensing authorities do check these notices;
  • ­Don’t inadvertently remove your ability to provide off -sales (if you already have it) by ticking “on” only in a variation application. Tick “both” or state “as existing” as otherwise you might remove your right to use your beer garden or other external area;
  • Similarly, if your regulated entertainment is permitted indoors and outdoors, don’t just tick the “indoors” box on any variation – you may find you’ve restricted your ability to have outdoor entertainment.

Most licensing authorities apply a degree of common sense but they have a statutory duty to grant what you have applied for, otherwise they are acting ultra vires. A little careful thought beforehand can save a lot of hassle.

For any legal enquiries please visit Poppleston Allen's website​.

Related topics: Licensing law, Licensing Hub

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