The Deregulation Committee has made further progress
in the matter referred to it and has agreed to the following Report:
THE DRAFT DEREGULATION (SUNDAY LICENSING)
1. On 8 December the Government laid before Parliament
the draft Deregulation (Sunday Licensing) Order 2000, together
with a Statement and a Guidance Note on Extended Liquor Licensing
Hours on Sunday.
We have twice reported on similar proposals. On 14 March 2000
we reported on the Government's original proposal, the Deregulation
(Sunday Dancing and Licensing) Order 2000.
We have reported separately, today, on the Deregulation (Sunday
Dancing) Order 2000,
which seeks to implement only those provisions of the original
proposed Order which relate to Sunday Dancing.
2. The existing legislation, the Licensing Act 1964
(the '1964 Act'), permits late night drinking (and dancing) on
six days a week, from Monday to Saturday night up to Sunday morning.
The 1964 Act allows certain premises, including on-licensed premises
that are also licensed for music and dancing and which provide
substantial refreshment, registered members clubs with music and
dancing facilities, and casinos, to be granted extended licensing
hours under a special hours certificate. This permits alcohol
to be sold as an ancillary to the music and dancing up to 2am,
or 3am in parts of central London. However special hours certificates
cannot be granted for Sundays. The proposal would permit special
hours certificates to be granted on Sundays for these premises.
3. The 1964 Act also provides for another form of
extended hours in respect of restaurants where musical or other
entertainment as well as substantial refreshment is provided.
Extended hours orders permit alcohol to be sold
as an ancillary to the entertainment and refreshment up to 1am.
Extended hours orders are also currently unavailable on Sundays.
The proposal would allow extended hours orders for Sundays for
4. During our consideration of the original proposal,
the Deregulation (Sunday Dancing and Licensing) Order 200015,
we concluded that the proposal should be amended either to allow
residents and residents' associations to apply for revocation
of a special hours certificate relating to Sunday, or as an alternative,
to provide that the validity of such certificates be limited to
one year only, and that residents should be entitled to object
to their renewal.
5. We also concluded that, at the time the amended
draft Order is laid, the Home Office should issue guidance on
the interpretation to be given by licensing authorities to "the
special nature of Sunday."
6. Our conclusion in respect of this part of the
original proposal was that, with the exception of the criterion
relating to the continuation of any necessary protection, the
proposal satisfied the tests set out in Standing Order 141(5)
(A). Since this amended proposal covers the same ground as the
original proposal, except for the removal of those sections relating
to the Sunday Observance Act (covered by the draft Sunday Dancing
Order), we are content to limit our examination of the current
proposal to whether it fulfils, or not, the criterion of continuing
any necessary protection.
7. The amended draft Order introduces into the Licensing
Act 1964 new sections which allow persons living or working in
the neighbourhood, as well as the police and the relevant local
authority, to apply to the licensing justices or the magistrates'
court for the exclusion of Sunday from a special hours certificate
on the grounds of avoiding or reducing (a) any disturbance or
annoyance to persons living or working in the neighbourhood, or
customers or clients of any business in the neighbourhood; or
(b) the occurrence in the vicinity of the premises of disorderly
conduct by persons frequenting the premises or part of the premises.
8. Moreover the amended draft Order states that where
the licensing justices or magistrates' court grant a special hours
certificate relating to Sunday, in spite of a local authority's
objections based on the residential character of the area in which
the premises are situated, reasons for such a decision must be
9. The amended draft Order also takes account of
the Committee's recommendation for guidance to be published on
the "special nature of Sunday". The amended draft Order
states that in considering variations or limitations to special
hours certificates, licensing authorities should not only take
account of (a) the special nature of Sunday (which was required
under the terms of the original proposed Order), but also (b)
any guidance on that special nature issued by the Secretary of
10. A Guidance Note on Extended Liquor Licensing
Hours on Sundays accompanies the amended draft Order. Although
this goes some way towards acknowledging the special nature of
Sundays, it does so in somewhat grudging terms which might not
appeal to those who are less sanguine about the changing nature
of Sunday than the Home Office appear to be. Accordingly we append
to this Report a revised draft of the Home Office Guidance Note,
which deals with this issue in more balanced terms which may commend
themselves to the Secretary of State. In other respects we welcome
the advice in the Guidance Note to the licensing justices that
they should bear in mind the impact of any applications on the
local environment and its residents.
11. Despite the reservations noted above, we conclude
that the amended draft Order meets the criteria against which
we are required to judge it.
12. In our Report on the draft Deregulation (Sunday
Dancing) Order we accepted the separation of the original draft
Order into two parts, but noted that "our approval of [this]
draft Order should not be regarded as a precedent for future orders
which the Department concerned may wish to divide or substantially
13. In practice, the two separate draft Orders which
have emerged from this process have been laid before Parliament
within ten days of each other, perhaps to allay some public criticism
of the Home Office for failing to provide appropriately for this
New Year's Eve, which happens to fall on a Sunday. We in our turn
have responded to both Orders, as required by Standing Order No.
141(14), as speedily as possible, particularly in the case of
the draft Licensing Order. However, we draw the attention of the
House to the fact that this late presentation will mean that the
two draft Orders will now come into force too late for applications
for special hours certificates and extended hours orders to be
considered in time for this New Year's Eve. We therefore must
question what has in practice been achieved by the haste with
which the latter part of the exercise has been conducted.
14. We nonetheless recommend unanimously that
the draft Order should be approved.
of these are available to Members from the Vote Office and to
members of the public from the Home Office. Back
Report, Proposal for the Deregulation (Sunday Dancing and Licensing)
Order 2000, HC 334 of Session 1999-2000. Back
pp vii - viii of this Volume. Back