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Conditions on a premises licence are important in setting the parameters within which premises can lawfully operate.  A premises licence holder found guilty of not complying with their licence conditions can be imprisoned for up to 6 months and/or be issued with an unlimited fine.  It is therefore very important that premises licence holders know what condition are on their licence and also what these conditions demands of them.

Premises Licence Conditions

Premises licences are issued subject to conditions.  These conditions exist to ensure that the business operates in such a way that it is promoting the four licensing objectives:

  1. The prevention of crime and disorder
  2. The prevention of public nuisance
  3. Public Safety
  4. The protection of children from harm

All premises licences are subject to three types of licence conditions:

  1. Mandatory conditions – those imposed by statute;
  2. Imposed conditions – those imposed by a licensing committee or court; and/or
  3. Proposed conditions – those proposed and voluntarily agreed by an applicant.

The statutory guidance makes it clear that all premises licence conditions:

  • must be appropriate for the promotion of the licensing objectives;
  • must be precise and enforceable;
  • must be unambiguous and clear in what they intend to achieve;
  • should not duplicate other statutory requirements or other duties or responsibilities placed on the employer by other legislation;
  • must be tailored to the individual type, location and characteristics of the premises and events concerned;
  • should not be standardised and may be unlawful when it cannot be demonstrated that they are appropriate for the promotion of the licensing objectives in an individual case;
  • should not replicate offences set out in the 2003 Act or other legislation;
  • should be proportionate, justifiable and be capable of being met;
  • cannot seek to manage the behaviour of customers once they are beyond the direct management of the licence holder and their staff, but may impact on the behaviour of customers in the immediate vicinity of the premises or as they enter or leave; and
  • should be written in a prescriptive format.

Common misconceptions

  • Police conditions – It is not necessary for licence holder to accept any or all of the conditions proposed by the police.  Premises licence conditions must be tailored to the risk posed by an individual premises.  Small venues with ancillary sales of alcohol will pose a far lower risk than a high capacity nightclub.  The conditions should be appropriate. If the police ask for conditions licence holders think is unnecessary, there is not duty to accept them but do seek legal advice as it is likely that the police will object to your application if you do not accept their proposed conditions.
  • CCTV – Similar to the above, not every licensed premises must have a CCTV system installed.  Again, if the operation of your premises deems it appropriate then such a condition would be acceptable but if your premises is very low risk, you are under no duty to accept a condition relating to CCTV.
  • Standard conditions – Apart from mandatory conditions mentioned above, there is no such thing as a standard premises licence condition.  Every licence’s conditions must be tailored to the individual premises.  Some conditions are commonly found on premises licences, but do no be confuse commonly found condition with standard conditions.

Why is it important?

It is an offence under section 136 of the Licensing Act for any premises licence holder to operate in a way that is not consistent with their licence, including complying with the conditions attached to their licence.  A person guilty of an offence under section 136 is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to an unlimited fine, or to both.

As you will note from the above, premises licence holder can be imprisoned, be subject to an unlimited find, or both if they are found guilty of not complying with the terms of their premises licence.  It is therefore imperative that premises licence holders know what conditions are attached to their licence and also to make sure these conditions are clear and precise to ensure that can comply with them.

Expert Licensing Barristers

If you are a licensee who are facing difficulties with your premises licence, Licensing Defence Barristers are sector leading barristers who can help.