Licensing in Scotland

There are significant differences between the licensing regime in Scotland and that in England and Wales

We provide licensing services in relation to premises in Scotland. We offer this service currently to our existing clients.

Our Scottish team is headed by Jonathan Smith who is assisted by Angie Gardner and Craig Barwell. We issue all applications from our office in Nottingham and information on our charges is available on request.

Attendance at board meetings is normally undertaken by a specialist Scottish licensing solicitor, with whom we have agreed preferential rates.

The Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 is about to go through its first significant changes. The changes, as they will affect you, are set out below:

Significant changes dealing with the following came into force on 1st October 2011:

Minimum price for multipack products

A pack which contains two or more products now has to be sold at a price at least equal to, or more than, the individual price of the products, for example were 4 cans of Stella are on sale for £4 then you couldn't sell a pack of 12 cans of Stella for less than £12.

Variation of Pricing for Alcoholic Drinks

The restriction that currently applies to selling alcohol for consumption on the premises (the price of an alcoholic product cannot be changed until the expiry of a period of 72 hours has lapsed since the variation) is now extended to off licences as well.

A Requirement for Age Verification Policy

The requirement for an age verification policy has now been amended so that the policy in place must be Challenge 25 as opposed to Challenge 21.

Variation of Licence Conditions

Variation of licence conditions may now be made unilaterally by a Licensing Board but any variation would have to apply either to all licensed premises in its area, a particular category of licensed premises or all licensed premises within a particular area. Before making any such variation, the Board has to publish notice of the proposed variation and give notice to premises licence holders. If any representations are received by the Board in respect of the proposed variation then a hearing has to be held where representations can be brought as to why the variation should not be made.

Occasional Licences

There is now a power for the Scottish Ministers to prescribe the maximum number of occasional licences that any applicant can have, or any premises can have, in a period of 12 months and limit the number of days which occasional licences can have effect for any individual or premises in any period of 12 months. The regulations can also prescribe the maximum number of continuous days for which an occasional licence can have effect in respect of any particular premises.

Social Responsibility Levy

The Scottish Ministers can, by regulations, provide for the imposition of a social responsibility levy on premises licence holders, holders of occasional licences, street traders licences, public entertainment licence and late hours catering licences. This is very similar to the late night levy proposed for England and Wales.

The devil will be in the detail and the regulations may prescribe the level of charges, exemptions from the charges, discounts for the charges and how the charges will be collected. Any levy collected will then no doubt be divided between the Licensing Board, Local Authority, Police Authority and possibly the Health Boards.

In short, these changes are good news for the on trade in the sense that it is bringing the off trade in line with the on trade in respect of drinks discounting restrictions.

However the benefit for the on trade is outweighed by the requirements to adopt Challenge 25, the possibility that Licensing Boards can prescribe "standard" conditions across their area and the looming possibility of a social responsibility levy.

Our Scottish expert is Jonathan Smith. If you would like advice in relation to any of your sites in Scotland, then please do not hesitate to contact Jonathan.