Memorandum from the Federation of Licensed
(Utilising numbers as per Consultation Paper)
The Federation welcomes the general principle of
de-regulation and, in particular, the changes as proposed to the
Law on Sunday Observance and Liquor Licensing. However, we would
wish to make the following observations:-
8. Protection for Residents
a) It is understood and appreciated that wherever
possible the disturbance of residents caused through noise and
nuisance is to be avoided.
However, the Government is proposing that there be:-
It would seem, therefore, that to incorporate a further
requirement under the Licensing Act 1964 "to consider the
special nature of Sunday before reaching a decision on a Special
Hours Certificate" to be contradictory to the proposed deregulation
The Federation is mindful of the poor uptake of Childrens'
Certificates following deregulation in that area of the Licensing
Act. The intransigence of some Licensing Committees has rendered
Applications for Childrens' Certificates untenable. It is envisaged
that some Licensing Committees may simply amend their Policy Statement
(e.g. "the Committee considers that Sundays are special by
their nature and inappropriate for the grant of Special Hours
Certificates"), thus rendering this deregulation proposal
Furthermore, the proposed amendment includes a requirement
for the Licensing Authority "to consider the Special nature
of Sunday before reaching a decision". The merit of an Application
will be meaningless until this preliminary hurdle is overcome.
It seems to the Federation that a Committee would find it difficult
to reverse a decision that Sundays are special by nature, if such
is their finding on the prior Application considered by them.
How can Sundays cease to be special for some premises and not
The Government has, therefore, already carefully
considered the special nature of Sunday, hence the proposed deregulation.
The Federation considers the additional proposed
protection "to consider the special nature of Sunday before
reaching a decision on a Special Hours Certificate" as being
b) The Federation is unclear why the latest time
for selling alcohol under a Special Hours Certificate on Sundays
should generally be restricted to 12.30 am. It is noted, however,
that an exception is proposed when Sunday falls the day before
a Bank Holiday (other than Easter) in which case normal week day
hours will apply.
If the Government is of the view that people should
be allowed to spend their leisure time as they wish, then it seems
illogical that the terminal hour on Sundays should be any different
from other week days. The argument that "the majority of
people go to work on Monday" does not hold good when considered
against the fact that Special Hours Certificates can apply to
each week day.
c) It seems reasonable that there should be a power
to exclude Sundays (as well as any other day) from a Special Hours
Certificate on the grounds of disturbance caused outside the premises
as a result of their use. However, the wording of this proposal
would seem to suggest that before a Committee could exclude a
Sunday there would need to be evidence of disturbance.
The Federation is mindful that in order to achieve
the grant of a Special Hours Certificate the Applicant will need
to satisfy the Local Authority Licensing Sub-Committee that a
Public Entertainment Licence is in force for the premises for
the days and hours sought. Ample protection is, therefore, provided
to local residents within the Local Government (Miscellaneous
Provisions) Act 1982.
33. Cost Savings and Financial Benefits
Suggest that FLVA consult with membership regarding
the financial benefits which might accrue if paid for dancing
were permitted on Sundays.
34. Transitional Costs
(i) Variation of Public Entertainment Licence
The Federation is conscious that there is no uniform
pricing structure for Local Authority Variation Applications.
Some Authorities do not charge for Variations at time of Renewal,
whereas others will charge whenever the Application is made.
(ii) The Special Hours Certificate will either require
varying or a new Application. This, again, will involve expense
including possible legal fees, court fees and the expense of advertising
in local press. Of course, it would be open to local residents
to lodge any Notice of Objection to such Application which can
significantly add to the cost.
35. Phase In
Those who would seek a new Special Hours Certificate
for Sundays will have to apply for a variation to their Public
Entertainment Licenses as a preliminary measure. Some Committees
insist on a minimum 28 day consultation period for such variations
and then, of course, Application for Special Hours Certificates
will have to go before Liquor Licensing Committees at their Sessions.
It seems sensible to the Federation that the Government should
set a date for the coming into force of the new dancing arrangements
that allow for immediate Applications for Variation as suggested.
Prepared by Anthony Lyons, Solicitor
Pannone & Partners
Submission on behalf of the Federation of Licensed
15 July 1999