Published: 16 August 2016
Q: I have recently taken over a local pub having previously run late night venues. A number of my customers want to bring in their children, but I am not sure of my legal responsibilities or if I am permitted to allow them in?
A: Firstly, it is important to check your premises licence as this could include conditions which restrict the admittance of children.
However, it is important to remember that even if there are no restrictions on your premises licence it is an offence to allow an unaccompanied child under 16 onto licensed premises which are used ‘exclusively or primarily for the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises’.
If your a pub also serves food it can be difficult for you to determine if your premises, or even part of your premises, fall within this definition – especially if for example you have both a bar and dining area. If you are unsure then it may be worth discussing this with your local authority so that you are both clear on whether this restriction applies to you.
If your premises are open beyond midnight it is also an offence to allow unaccompanied children on your premises after this time until 05:00am – this is applicable to ALL premises and not just those that are used ‘exclusively or primarily for the sale of alcohol’.
Generally a child is defined as someone under the age of 16, but this is not always the case – for example the legislation regarding the showing of films on licensed premises defines them as someone under the age of 18. It is therefore advisable to ensure that if there are specific conditions on your premises licence regarding the admission of children both you and the authority are clear on what ‘child’ means.
If you are allowing accompanied children into your premises then the person accompanying them should be someone over the age of 18.
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