licensing laws today

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licensing laws today

Postby Tony James » 20 Oct 2008, 14:33

It's some time now since the initial problems associated with the licensing laws. There was so much initial confusion and variation in the way the rules were being interpreted and applied. There still is but not quite as bad as before.

Anyway as we come to the end of this summer season this is how I find things.

The licensing situation is still fragmented in its application. But generally it does appear to have settled down, and certainly in the outdoor events market. Frankly I suspect many local authorities don't understand how to apply it and the initial rather macho approach has given way to a more amenable approach. This may be influenced by the outcomes of challenges by specialist barristers when local authorities frequently appear to back off.

Generally speaking provided entertainment isn't actually in a bar area or in close proximity to a bar, organisers are not having to fund licenses additional to the general event license.

Initially, Punch & Judy shows were required to have separate individual licenses by some local authorities but not by others. This was due to some authorities classifying the booth as a 'premises'. This appears to be no longer an issue. The only concern occasionally raised of late has been the question of whether or not the Punch & Judy Show makes a direct charge to the audience for watching the show. When a show is on fee and not collecting from the audience, no individual licence is required.

The same applies to any other showground entertainment. The situation appears slightly less clear if an entertainment goes on to charge audiences directly and individually for additional services - taking of photographs, sales of souvenirs and associated novelties.

All in all, licensing does not appear to be the problematic issue it was two and three years ago.
Tony James

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