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Licence lapse issue

What happens if a joint premise licence holder dies?

Q: Sadly my wife passed away recently and she was the Premises Licence Holder along with me. With having to deal with the funeral I haven’t yet got round to telling the Licensing Authority, but I am now worried that as the licence lapses if the Premises Licence Holder dies, the Licensing Authority will tell me that I have no Premises Licence. What should I do?

A: I am very sorry to hear your news. The Licensing Act isn’t clear about what happens when one of two joint holders of a licence dies, but hopefully you don’t need to worry about your Premises Licence in this case.

Firstly, I would contact the Licensing Authority as soon as possible and explain the situation – I have every expectation that they will want to help you.

I anticipate that the Licensing Authority will want you to amend the licence to display your sole details as the Premises Licence Holder, and this may require the payment of a small fee. In the unlikely event that they took the view that the licence had lapsed despite the fact that one of the joint Licence Holders is still alive then I would urge you to seek urgent legal advice.

If it is still within 28 days of your wife’s passing away then you could make an application to transfer the licence into your sole name but if it was more than 28 days since her death this would not be possible.

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