Not only was the late Queen Elizabeth crowned in 1952 but this was the year that the string-free tea bag was first introduced into the UK by Tetley’s, sugar frosted flakes were introduced by Kellogg’s and Clarence Birdseye introduced the first frozen peas.
The regulation of alcohol sales have come a long way since 1952, and for the Licensing Act 1921 you can now read the Licensing Act 2003.
The 2003 Act contains a provision whereby the secretary of state can mark a special occasion by making a ‘licensing hours order’ under Section 172 of the Licensing Act 2003.
Order expected to extend hours
With the King’s Coronation on 6 May, we fully expect this order to extend the hours for the sale of alcohol, the provision of hot food and drink and the provision of regulated entertainment from 11pm until 1am the following morning, on the evenings of Friday to Sunday, 5-7 May 2023.
However, the extension only applies to premises licences that have existing hours for the provision of those licensable activities up to 11pm in the first place so, for example, if a pub only has permission for the sale of alcohol until 10.30pm on Sunday 7 May 2023, there would be no extension permitted.
Unfortunately, premises that are already licensed until midnight will only obtain the benefit for an additional hour from midnight until 1am, and those premises already licensed until 1am or beyond will see no benefit at all from the order.
It is important to note the extension only applies to the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises. Therefore, it does not extend the hours for premises with off-sales permissions only (supermarkets, convenience stores, etc), nor will it extend the hours during which alcohol can be sold inside premises to then be taken outside premises into, say, a garden or terrace area. It is also important to note premises that can only provide late-night refreshment, do not benefit from any extension under the order.
Any conditions that are on a premises licence will continue during the additional extended hours under the order so if door staff have to be provided from 8pm until close, they would need to be provided until your new closure time.
Finally, it is worth noting the order, as with previous relaxations of licensing hours on special occasions, does not explicitly deal with drinking up time. We would suggest it is reasonable to use the existing drinking up time, ie, the time between the end of the sale of alcohol and the end of opening hours. So, if normally the premises licence permits the sale of alcohol to 11pm but opening until 11.30pm, we would suggest it would be quite permissible for alcohol sales to continue until 1am with closing at 1.30am.