Licensing

We offer clear, commercial advice tailored to your business on:

  • Premises licences to authorise the sale of alcohol, late night refreshment and regulated entertainment
  • Tables and chairs licences for external seating outside pubs, restaurants and other licensed premises
  • Wedding licences
  • Live music
  • Temporary event notices
  • Licensing in commercial leases and due diligence
  • Registered clubs

The latest Home Office Guidance on licensing can be found here.

For more information about the various licences and how we can help please click on the sections below.

Caroline Matthews

Caroline Matthews

Consultant Solicitor

Premises licences are granted by local licensing authorities to individuals and businesses who offer licensable activities, including:

  • Pubs, restaurants and nightclubs
  • Supermarkets
  • Late night takeaways
  • Hotels, bingo halls, cinemas and theatres
  • Village clubs and members’ clubs

A premises licence authorises the holder to provide:

  • The sale of alcohol for consumption on or off the premises
  • Hot food and/or drink between 2300 and 0500 (“late night refreshment”)
  • Regulated entertainment, which includes performance of dance, films, boxing, live and recorded music

Any premises that sells alcohol must have a Designated Premises Supervisor who is in direct day to day control of the business.

An annual fee is payable to the licensing authority; non-payment can result in the licence lapsing.

All licences contain a set of mandatory conditions. Additional conditions may be imposed, depending on the nature of your business.

We can work with you and the responsible authorities to secure a licence that allows you to operate as you want to.

Permits the placing of tables and chairs on a public highway. If you have outside seating on the pavement or a beer garden/terrace, you may need one of these licences from your local authority.

Each council has its own guidelines and procedures we can advise on your particular authority’s requirements and guide you through the application process.

Venues offering wedding packages need both a premises licence and a grant of approval to hold civil marriages and civil partnerships. You will then be able to offer an all in one service with the ceremony and reception all under one roof.

Procedural requirements can differ from council to council; we can help make the application process as quick and seamless as possible.

Until recently the provision of music was tightly controlled under the licensing regime. That has all changed and unregulated live and recorded music is now permitted in a wide range of venues.

Contact us to find out whether you need to be licensed and how to make sure you comply with licensing law and regulations.

Limited to events with maximum 499 capacity, TENs can be used for one-off events, parties and concerts to allow alcohol, late night refreshment and entertainment at unlicensed premises. If you are planning a party, it’s worth doing your homework well in advance. The local licensing police and EHO may raise concerns about noise, potential disorder or audience safety which will need to be addressed before the event can go ahead so forward planning is strongly advised.

If you want peace of mind, check with us whether your event needs licensing. If it’s a ticket only function and not open to members of the public you may still need a TEN if the ticket price is raised to take account of free or discounted drinks. Music may fall within the definition of “regulated entertainment” if an audience is large or it’s taking place late at night. We can help you anticipate and deal with issues that typically upset local residents, EHO or police, such as noise breakout, traffic control, sanitary facilities or crime prevention measures. We can discuss the pros and cons of Early engagement with the authorities and residents and manage a constructive dialogue to ensure a safe and successful event.

Variations to layout, refurbishment, staff changes and licensing hours and conditions all need to be considered carefully and the appropriate steps taken with the licensing authority to make sure you are operating within the law.

We can negotiate lease provisions relating to any licensing issues and carry out due diligence on your property transaction, working closely with your property advisers. We can advise on issues such as whether to opt for a conditional or unconditional deal, how to go about transferring an existing licence so that trading is not interrupted and what steps you will need to take to ensure the licence is fit for your purpose. We can offer bespoke, commercial advice so that your licence is fully compliant before your crucial opening date.

Private members’ clubs usually hold a club premises certificate which allows the provision of alcohol to members and bona fide guests. Clubs that hold functions, eg offer wedding packages, may opt for a premises licence instead. This will give greater flexibility whilst potentially allowing the club to operate membership rules by way of conditions on the licence.

We can offer practical advice on which permission will work best for you.

The licensing regime’s aim is to uphold four objectives:

  • Prevention of crime and disorder
  • Public safety
  • Prevention of public nuisance
  • The protection of children from harm

Breaches of the Act and/or your licence conditions can result in review, licence suspension, premises closure, fines, and imprisonment.

We can give advise you on how to avoid being closed down following alleged breaches and negotiate on your behalf with licensing authorities to try and reach an acceptable solution for your business, the authorities and residents. If trading is interrupted we will discuss your options with a view to your opening up again as soon as possible. Solutions can be offered to satisfy the authorities including transfer of the licence to a new holder, replacement of the DPS or varying operating conditions and/or opening hours. We can advise on the use of temporary event notices to permit trading for at least a short time whilst options are being explored.

Recent changes to immigration rules have cracked down on premises employing illegal workers who have no entitlement to work in the UK. Insolvency can have a serious impact on licensed premises, which can be mitigated with the right advice and quick action.