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Unlimited Fines for some Licensing Act 2003 Offences

Following the commencement of S.85 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 the 'cap' on fines which can be issued has now been removed

Commenting, Natasha Beck, Solicitor at Poppleston Allen said:’Following the commencement of S.85 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 the ‘cap’ on fines which can be issued by the Magistrates’ Court for numerous offences has now been removed.

The effect is that where a fine was previously capped at £5,000 or above there is now no limit on the fine that can be given by the Magistrates Court and so financial penalties are potentially unlimited.

There are a number of offences under the Licensing Act 2003 which have previously had capped fines, but as a result of this they will now have unlimited fines. This includes offences such as:

  • Carrying on unauthorised Licensable Activities (previously £20,000);
  • Exposing alcohol for unauthorised sale (previously £20,000);
  • Allowing the sale of alcohol to children (previously £5,000);
  • Persistently selling alcohol to children (previously £20,000);
  • Consumption of alcohol by children (previously £5,000);
  • Contravention of a closure order (previously £20,000);

The new provisions only apply to convictions relating to offences committed on or after 12th March 2015 and the Court must still take into account the financial circumstances of the offender when making their decision.

Finally, whilst we are only commenting on the impact that this has on Licensing Act 2003 offences, it is important to note that the provisions apply to hundreds of other offences where the fines have previously been limited to £5,000 or more.

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