News Government Publishes Draft Amended Mandatory Licence Conditions

Draft Mandatory Licence Conditions Published

Somewhat out of the blue, the Government yesterday published revised Mandatory Licence Conditions, which the Order indicates will come into force on the 1st October 2014. This eNews will deal with changes to 'irresponsible drinks promotions'.

The Mandatory Condition preventing alcohol being dispensed directly into another person's mouth has been incorporated into the definition of an irresponsible promotion.

The main change however, is that the previous qualification that any drinks promotion is only irresponsible if it is carried on in a manner which 'carries a significant risk' of undermining one of the licensing objectives has disappeared. The Order then goes on to split definitions of irresponsible drinks promotions into 5 categories, some of which are not qualified by the requirement that it carries such a significant risk.

Three categories are illegal under any circumstances: dispensing alcohol directly into a person's mouth; a game or activity which encourages people to drink a quantity of alcohol within a certain time limit (other than drinking up time), or to drink as much alcohol as possible; and selling alcohol in association with any posters / flyers in the vicinity of the premises, which can reasonably be considered to condone, encourage or glamourize anti-social behaviour, or the effects of drunkenness, in a favourable manner.

However, two other forms of promotions - unlimited or unspecified quantities of alcohol being sold free or for a fixed or discounted fee, and the provision of free or discounted alcohol as a prize, to encourage or reward purchase or consumption of alcohol over a period of 24 hours or less, are only irresponsible if they are carried on in a manner where there is a significant risk of undermining one or more of the licensing objectives.

Therefore, drinks promotions which are commonly run across the country which discount alcohol on a certain evening of the week, are only deemed to be irresponsible in the event that they are carried out in a manner which carries with it a significant risk to the licensing objectives.

The draft order is significantly different to the situation in Scotland, where all specified drinks promotions are banned outright. Only those games or activities requiring individuals to drink alcohol quickly, or selling alcohol in association with posters or flyers glamourizing drunkenness or anti-social behaviour, will be banned completely.

A further eNews will follow on the changes to the other Mandatory Conditions.

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