Letter from the Chief Executive, Justices'
Society, England and Wales to the Clerk of the Deregulation and
Regulatory Reform Committee (dated 6 September 2001)
Proposal for the Regulatory Reform (Special Occasions
Licensing) Order 2001
With reference to your letter of 19 July 2001, the
Society shares your concern over the lateness of the timescale
for the regulatory reform for New Years Eve. It is regrettable
that there will be insufficient time for this order to take full
The Society has acted in conjunction with the Magistrates
Association in drafting a press statement suggesting that in order
to fill the gap created by the delay in this order, Courts should
routinely follow the Good Practice Guide in granting Special Orders
of Exemption for New Years Eve to 12.30am.
A liberal approach has been encouraged, however,
where applicants apply for longer hours given that it was the
Governments intention to have lengthy licensing hours.
Many licensees have to date not applied for New Year
extensions believing that the matter was going to be resolved
by Government. A clear statement is needed very quickly as to
whether it is still intended to put this reform measure through
the Parliamentary process. If it is, then licensees need not apply
for Special Orders of Exemption, but if not, they need to prepare.
The Society's concern also turns on the inability
of anyone then to apply for a Restriction Order as timescales
would not be sufficient. It may be, therefore, better to announce
that because of difficulties with Parliamentary delays, that the
deregulation order for New Years Eve will not proceed.
It can then be left for individual Licensing Justices
to consider applications for Special Orders of Exemption, and
to apply their own local knowledge as to whether there is likely
to be disturbance caused by the extended hours.
The Society's and Magistrates Association guidance
would then ensure some uniformity across the country, and efforts
could be made to ensure that the necessary regulatory reform is
in place for the next New Years Eve. It would surely be better
to announce this delay rather than hurriedly introducing legislation,
which includes a power of a restriction order, which in effect
would be meaningless.