Unlimited Fines for Licensing Offences Introduced
The potential fines for some licensing offences have changed under the ‘Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012’ which came into effect on 11th March 2015.
The new legislation effectively replaces the previous Level 5 penalty which was a maximum fine of £5000 with an ‘Unlimited Fine’.
It also replaces the previous maximum fine of £20,000 for an unauthorised licensable activity with an ‘Unlimited Fine’; although for such an offence a six month prison sentence can also be applied as an alternative or in conjunction with the fine.
The unlimited nature of the fines does not change the fact that the courts are still obligated to take the ability of the offender to pay the fine, into account during sentencing.
Unauthorised Licensable Activities
Unauthorised Licensable Activities would continue to potentially face prosecution in the Magistrates Court, however where previously the maximum penalty for such offences would have been a maximum fine of £20,000 and / or 6 Months Imprisonment, the maximum penalty would now be an Unlimited Fine and / or 6 Months Imprisonment. These offences could also be dealt with by way of a Review of the Premises Licence.
The offences considered ‘unauthorised would effectively be any offence where no valid premises licence is in place, such as:
- To carry out a Licensable Activity without a Premises Licence, Temporary Events Notice (T.E.N.) or Club Premises Certificate.
- Sale of Alcohol / Regulated Entertainment / Late Night Refreshment outside the hours stated on the Premises Licence or T.E.N.
- Any breach of the Mandatory Conditions
- Any breach of conditions listed on the Premises Licence.
- Opening a premises which is under a Closure Order or Closure Notice
Level 5 Penalty
Level 5 penalties which were previously capped at £5000 are now also ‘Unlimited’; these offences can also be addressed via a Review of the Premises Licence. Level 5 offences include:
- Sale of Alcohol to a Person Under the Age of 18
- Consumption of Alcohol by a Person Under the Age of 18
We Can Help
Our licensing consultants can provide assistance and guidance on all licensing matters, as well as on operational procedures in relation to age verification to ensure compliance with all current legislation under the Licensing Act 2003 and associated legislation.
We also deliver training for front-line staff working in the licensed hospitality and licensed retail sectors.
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Author - Peter Mayhew is the Managing Director of Beyond the Blue Training & Consultancy. He delivers training courses and provides expert opinion on alcohol & entertainment licensing for individuals, organisations and public bodies. Peter is a frequent contributor to industry publications.
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Page Updated: 15th April 2015