Q&A Out with the old…

Q.
I had my old “liquor” licence converted, 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. 

I spoke with the Council’s Licensing Authority officer and he referred to them as “old embedded conditions” and advised me to use a minor variation to “tidy-up” my premises licence by removing these conditions.  Are there any risks?

A.
Removing outdated conditions from a premises licence certainly helps provide clarity for both the operator and the Authorities as well as avoiding conflict between the 1964 and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For example, the old legal requirement for a Children’s Certificate on a licensed premises has been replaced by a completely different system under s145 of the Licensing Act 2003.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. Be careful not to remove any 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.

I have seen licences, where our clients have acquired the premises, that have no permission for recorded music and on review of the history it transpired that the old embedded benefit  as to recorded music unrestricted, ‘ Public Entertainment by way of music and singing only, which is provided solely by the reproduction of recorded sound’, had accidently been removed when the previous operator had ‘tidied up the licence’ leaving no such permission on the premises licence.

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.

For further information on this issue or any other licensing issue contact partner Andy Grimsey on 0115 953 8500.