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Old Embedded Conditions

Do I need to submit a minor variation to remove old embedded conditions?

Q:  I converted my old “liquor” licence, which was issued under the Licensing Act 1964, to a premises licence when the Licensing Act 2003 came into force.  This left me with quite a few conditions relating to my old Public Entertainment Licence, and restricting the selling of alcohol and food which were all imposed under the provisions of the 1964 Act.  The Council’s Licensing Authority calls them old embedded conditions and they recently advised me to use a minor variation to “tidy-up” my premises licence by removing those embedded conditions.  Are there any risks?

A:  I can see the attraction of removing outdated conditions from a premises licence.  It provides clarity for both the operator and the Authorities, and avoids conflict between the 1964 and 2003 Licensing Acts. 

For example, the old legal requirement for a Children’s Certificate on a licensed premises has been replaced by a completely different system under s145 of the Licensing Act 2003.  In addition to the restriction on children, the most common so called embedded conditions are those which restrict “permitted hours”, for example, on Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and even Good Friday.  However, when seeking to remove embedded conditions, extreme care must be taken to ensure that you are not removing a restriction which gives you underlying rights.  

On occasions, the embedded permitted right to trade from the end of permitted hours on New Year’s Eve to the start of permitted hours the following day or the right to 20 minutes drinking-up time has been inadvertently deleted. The latter is crucial especially if a premises have the terminal time for the sale of alcohol equal to their closing times.  In light of this, if you are unsure of what to remove and what to keep, then it is important that you obtain appropriate legal advice before committing yourself to an application which could have a negative effect on your trade.

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