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Fines for certain Licensing Act offences are at an all time low.  Is compliance in licensed venues at an all-time high?

The Ministry of Justice’s Criminal Justice Statistics for England and Wales was recently published which includes fines issued for the offences listed below:

  • Drunk and disorderly
  • Sale of alcohol to drunken person
  • Supply of alcohol to a person under 18
  • Sale of alcohol to a person under 18
  • Purchasing alcohol for a person under 18
  • Purchasing alcohol for a person under 18 for consumption on the premises
  • Delivery of alcohol to a person under 18 or allowing such delivery
  • Consumption of alcohol in a designated public place
  • Consumption of alcohol by a person under 18 on relevant premises
  • Allowing consumption of alcohol by a person under 18 on relevant premises
  • Buying or attempting to buy alcohol by a person under 18

Over a 10-year period covered by the statistics, the number of fines for these offences have shown a significant decline as shown in the table below:  

The statistics does not go into any analysis of the reasons for this however it is fair to speculate that one cause could be that licensees have over the years become more confident and competent in the legislation.  2009 was not long after the Licensing Act came into force which represented a significant change in alcohol licensing.  Coupled with this, 10 years ago responsible authorities would also have taken a different approach to enforcement under the Act. 

Whatever the reasons, the statistics is evidence of the fact that licensed premises are significantly better run that they were 10 years ago.

Stephen McCaffrey

Regulatory defence barrister specialising in alcohol and entertainment licensing law, appeals and defence.

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