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Licencing Law puts licencees under house arrest

#1
Yet another well-thought out & well-drafted bit of Neue Arbeit law :roll:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/mai...cen04.xml&sSheet=/news/2005/04/04/ixhome.html
Licensing law puts us under house arrest, says hotelier
By Joshua Rozenberg
(Filed: 04/04/2005)

New licensing laws could place some pub landlords and restaurant owners under virtual 'house arrest', forcing them to be on the premises every time alcohol is served, it was claimed yesterday.

Nick Steiger, a hotelier, believes that too strict an interpretation of the Licensing Act 2003, which takes effect in November, may also force him and others to close their premises for several weeks each year.

Mr Steiger is challenging Huntingdonshire district council's interpretation of the Act, which demands that there must be a "personal licence holder" on the premises whenever alcohol is served at his hotel - the Grange - in Brampton.

This would mean, he claims, that one third of his 15 staff would have to obtain personal licences - at a cost of £350 each.

Different councils may interpret the wording of the act in different ways. But yesterday the British Hospitality Association accused some local authorities of going further than necessary, and "gold-plating" the statutory requirements.

"It is ludicrous," said Miles Quest, a spokesman for the BHA. "It's just one of the problems of the new law. That's why so few applications have been made for licences."

Mr Steiger, 47, a former head chef at Annabel's Club in Berkeley Square, London, said that, until now, he and his wife Susanna had simply obtained a licence from the "brewster session" at his local magistrates, at a cost of £10 a year, that did not require him to be on the premises all the time.

Section 19(3) of the new Act says that "every supply of alcohol under the premises licence must be made or authorised by a person who holds a personal licence". What is not clear from this wording is whether the personal licence holder has to be on the premises in order to authorise the sale.

Mr Steiger believes it should be possible for him to authorise his managers to "mind the shop" for a week or more so that he and his wife can take a holiday. He claims neighbouring councils are adopting a more flexible approach, giving his commercial rivals an unfair advantage.

But Huntingdonshire council says it is required to follow guidance from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. This states that, although it is not essential for a personal licence holder to be present at every transaction, "it would be expected that the personal licence holder would be available on the premises".

The Government adds that, "ultimately, it would be for the courts to determine whether the frequency or length of a period of absence meant that the personal licence holder could not, in effect, have authorised the sale".

Under the new law, Mr Steiger calculates that to cover breaks and holidays, personal licences will be needed for himself, his wife and at least three of his staff. "We may just have to close the hotel in the first weeks of January and August to give all the staff a week off together," he said.

Neil Shestopal, a London solicitor specialising in licensing law, said Huntingdonshire council's view of the law was probably correct - though few people had realised what a far-reaching effect the new legislation would have.

For example, most pubs and restaurants were required to draw up new architectural plans before premises licences could be issued. Lengthy application forms must also be completed.

"This is too much of a rush for such a fundamental change in procedures," he said, adding: "The magistrates' system was quirky, but it worked."
 
#2
"But Huntingdonshire council says it is required to follow guidance from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. This states that, although it is not essential for a personal licence holder to be present at every transaction, "it would be expected that the personal licence holder would be available on the premises".


Huntingdon Council are just being neurotic. Mr Steiger has the option of appealing to the Courts if Huntingdon refuse his application for the premises licence. The Act specifically states that although a Personal Licence Holder must authorise each and every sale of alcohol, they do not have to be on site to do so.

If Mr Steiger's hotel was a den of iniquity that had already been in trouble with the police (sounds unlikely!) or the area was a drugs dealer paradise, then the Police can make objections but only on the grounds of the Licening Objective 'Prevention of Crime'.

This could be a politically motivated act - a Conservative council wanting to make a piece of Labour legislation unpopular perhaps?!
 
#3
It's not the law it is the pathetic interpretetion put upon it by some jobsworth in the Dept of Yoghurt,Lies and Idleness.

All civil servants act under the authority of their minister, they don't expect them to be there to personally supervise them.
 
#4
Prodigal said:
Huntingdon Council are just being neurotic. Mr Steiger has the option of appealing to the Courts if Huntingdon refuse his application for the premises licence. The Act specifically states that although a Personal Licence Holder must authorise each and every sale of alcohol, they do not have to be on site to do so.
Section 19(3) of the new Act says that "every supply of alcohol under the premises licence must be made or authorised by a person who holds a personal licence". What is not clear from this wording is whether the personal licence holder has to be on the premises in order to authorise the sale.
So, no, the act does not specifically state that they do not have to be on the site. RTFA.
 
#5
stoatman said:
Yet another well-thought out & well-drafted bit of Neue Arbeit law :roll:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/mai...cen04.xml&sSheet=/news/2005/04/04/ixhome.html
Licensing law puts us under house arrest, says hotelier
By Joshua Rozenberg
(Filed: 04/04/2005)

...

The Government adds that, "ultimately, it would be for the courts to determine whether the frequency or length of a period of absence meant that the personal licence holder could not, in effect, have authorised the sale".

...
FFS... the Government exists to create the law - they should be able to state without caveat what the law is supposed to do.

And if the law is so badly drafted to be ambiguous, they'd better change it PDQ - before the Wide Mouthed Frog gets even more taxpayers money for arguing the loss of Human Rights.

:evil: :roll:
 
#6
Cyberhacker said:
FFS... the Government exists to create the law - they should be able to state without caveat what the law is supposed to do.

And if the law is so badly drafted to be ambiguous, they'd better change it PDQ - before the Wide Mouthed Frog gets even more taxpayers money for arguing the loss of Human Rights.

:evil: :roll:
Look - this is the new way that they do it - they make the law as ambiguous as possible so that they can change its interpretation to suit their current agenda, through the courts or through Home Orifice guidance. Ever noticed how many lawyers sit on the front bench? This is government by lawyers for lawyers.
 
#7
Another example of NuLab messing around with a system that has worked well for centuries (the old magistrate-based system) and making an expensive and muddled mess by giving control to those bastions of common-sense and efficiency, local councils :roll:.
It now costs far more and takes far longer to get a licence and what's the betting that the number of "Unsuitable persons" getting licences will rocket?
 
#8
It is unlikely that anyone unsuitable is going to get a Personal licence. They must produce a Criminal Records Bureau certificate and the police can object on the grounds of conviction for a relevant or foreign offence. With regards to the premises licence, notice of application must go to:

• Police
• Fire authority
• Health and Safety authority
• Local planning authority
• Environmental Health authority
• Child Protection authority

The pressure on both the on and off trade to take some reponsibility for their role in binge and under age drinking that is growing, and will start to be really felt after the second appointed date (mid November when the new Act comes into force), can not be a bad thing.

Under the cuurent law, the licensee has to delegate their authority to whoever they leave in charge when they go away, and they remain responsible in law for any actions of this person and their staff in their absence, so nothing much has changed there.

I believe, and hope, that the status of staff will improve when they become Personal Licence holders in their own right. For example, I recently had a student sacked because he walked in on his landlord taking cocaine in the cellar (yet again), a young woman sacked because the landlady didn't like the way her husband looked at her and a 17 year old who was left at the mercy of a fondling-prone 50 plus barman - because he was a frined of the managers.

This Act, flawed as it is, will lead to more responsible selling of alcohol - because landlords will now be more acountable than ever.
who all have a say
 
#9
Prodigal said:
It is unlikely that anyone unsuitable is going to get a Personal licence. They must produce a Criminal Records Bureau certificate and the police can object on the grounds of conviction for a relevant or foreign offence. With regards to the premises licence, notice of application must go to:

• Police
• Fire authority
• Health and Safety authority
• Local planning authority
• Environmental Health authority
• Child Protection authority

The pressure on both the on and off trade to take some reponsibility for their role in binge and under age drinking that is growing, and will start to be really felt after the second appointed date (mid November when the new Act comes into force), can not be a bad thing.

Under the cuurent law, the licensee has to delegate their authority to whoever they leave in charge when they go away, and they remain responsible in law for any actions of this person and their staff in their absence, so nothing much has changed there.

I believe, and hope, that the status of staff will improve when they become Personal Licence holders in their own right. For example, I recently had a student sacked because he walked in on his landlord taking cocaine in the cellar (yet again), a young woman sacked because the landlady didn't like the way her husband looked at her and a 17 year old who was left at the mercy of a fondling-prone 50 plus barman - because he was a frined of the managers.

This Act, flawed as it is, will lead to more responsible selling of alcohol - because landlords will now be more acountable than ever.
who all have a say
As if the CRB isn't over-worked and under-resourced already!
 
#10
A friend of mine who was working in the pub industry explained to me how onerous the new procedure is, and what the result will be: independent pubs will be pushed out of the market, and we'll be left with not much except Weatherspoons and All-Bar-One :roll:
 
#11
Yes, the new procedures are a bit bureaucratic, but the Personal Licence only needs renewing every ten years and the Premises Licence lasts forever unless there are significant changes that the landlord wants to bring in.

What I can see being a pain is the notifying of changes in the Designated Premises Supervisor, which must be done pretty quick.
There will also have to be much more focus on showing all due diligence with regards to risk assessments and staff training. But this is no different to what most other industries have had to do, and certainly the food operators will be used to that kind of regime.

I'm afraid my sympathy is limited - landlords will complain at the slightest imposition and I believe many have got away with bending the law for far too long.

For example, did you know it is currently an offence to serve someone who is drunk, appears to be drunk or the companion of a drunk for the drunken person's consumption?! I don't think there is a pub on the planet who doesn't break that every time they open their doors! The authorities hit pubs down in the South West over Christmas and found that the majority were serving under 18s alcohol. My students tell me about their nights out and they appear to be consuming around about 20 - 30 units roughly twice a week, and that includes the under 18 year olds.

Pubs might seem benign places to most of you reading this, because you are well able to handle yourselves - but they are not to people who cannot. And I haven't even mentioned drugs....
:?
 

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