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Charitable Drinks

Did my charitable event contravene the LIcensing Act 2003?

Q:  I arranged a charity event at our local village hall.  On the day, we sold raffle tickets with all proceeds to be donated to the Charity.  One of the lucky participants won a jeroboam of Champagne, which he then promptly opened and shared with his friends on his table.  I didn’t think anything of this.  A few days later, my local Council Licensing Officer contacted me and stated that I did not have the benefit of a Premises Licence or Temporary Event Notice under the Licensing Act 2003 for the event, and therefore, they would like to interview me.  What should I do?

A:  Under the Licensing Act 2003 (the Act), the sale of alcohol is a licensable activity. However, from your description, no sale has taken place.  Section 175 of the Act allows the giving of alcohol in sealed containers as a raffle prize if all raffle proceeds are donated to a good cause, the raffle is an incidental part of the charity event and none of the prizes are a money prize.  The consumption of alcohol is not licensable, so neither you nor your lucky guest has committed an offence by sharing the alcohol with other guests, without charge. However, you may wish to consider whether there were any other activities at your event which were licensable e.g., films, recorded music etc.  Notwithstanding this, we always suggest that you take legal advice before you attend any interview with the Licensing Authority as the interview is often the most important part of any enforcement action.

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