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Licensing law

If you are operating a business which provides entertainment or serves hot food and drinks within regulated hours, the Licensing Act 2003 requires you to have certain licences in order to operate legally. Depending upon the nature of your business, licensing law will prescribe the opening hours in which you are permitted to operate your business and it is important that you are aware of your obligations to avoid falling foul of the legislation.

The Licensing Act 2003

The Licensing Act 2003 dramatically overhauled licensing law in the United Kingdom, making local authorities responsible for licensing rather than the Magistrate’s Court.  Under the Act, both the premises and any persons responsible for the sale of alcohol must obtain separate licenses.

Premises applications must show an operating schedule and the application must include details of how the management of the premises will promote the licensing objectives under the Act.  These objectives are:

  • Prevention of criminal activity and public disorder
  • The protection of minors
  • Prevention of public nuisance
  • Assisting public safety

Although the Act came into force in its entirety in 2005, there is still a great deal of

confusion surrounding particular aspects of the legislation.  Our experienced commercial solicitors will inform you of the latest changes in the law relating to licensing, and advise you on the best course of action for your premises and help you obtain the licences that you need to effectively run your operation.

Licence Review

Since the Licensing Act of 2003 has come into force, the review of licences has increased. Local authorities are now permitted to review licences at any time if they have received complaints such as excessive noise or the selling of liquor to minors.  If your licence is being reviewed, this could potentially lead to a penalty or even revocation which can have profound financial and reputational consequences for your business.

Our commercial team can support and advise you if you or your premises are being subjected to a licence review.  If the local authority’s decision is not in your favour, our litigation team can assist you with the appeal process.

Minicabs or Private-hire Vehicle Licences

Saracens Solicitors can also advise on licensing obligations for private mini-cab or private-hire vehicle drivers both within and outside London.

There are a number of requirements imposed on individuals before a personal licence will be issued by the London Public Carriage Office.   These include:

  • You must hold a driver’s licence issued by Transport for London
  • You must be aged 21 years or older
  • You need to provide an enhanced criminal records check
  • A medical certificate from a GP is required to testify your health
  • You will be required to sit a London route finding exam
  • A full Great Britain, Northern Ireland or European Economic Area licence must have been held by the applicant for more than three years.

 Acquiring a Business

Our licensing solicitors work closely with our commercial property and corporate departments to advise on licensing issues relating to the acquisition / disposal of businesses. If you are acquiring licensed premises, you will need to either make a fresh application for a licence or apply to have the existing licence transferred to you. Whatever your needs, the team at Saracens Solicitors offers a service tailored to your specific business requirements.

To find out more please request a call back or phone our office on 020 3588 3500.

Mr B

From the moment I instructed Saracens, to the moment I was greeted with an email confirming my property acquisition had just completed, I can safely say that the service I received was second to none.

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