East Devon District Council

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Policy Licensing enforcement policy

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4. Action we take if the law is contravened

When we find a breach of the law, in the majority of cases we deal with the matter by advice.  However, there will always be more serious cases that can only be effectively dealt with in a more formal manner.

Dependent upon the provisions of the particular legislation, we are able to take a variety of actions, including:

  • verbal or written warnings
  • fixed penalty notices
  • indirect action, including referral to another organisation for action
  • suspension or revocation of licences
  • simple cautions
  • injunction
  • prosecution

Where immediate enforcement action is necessary an explanation will be given at the time and confirmed in writing, usually within five working days and always within 10 working days.

Before any enforcement action is taken there will usually be the opportunity for the alleged offender to discuss the case.  However, when we are considering a prosecution this will be at a formal interview.

Where the circumstances would normally justify prosecution but there has been a clear admission of the offence we will consider offering the offender an option of signing a simple caution.  This is an alternative to prosecution which can be referred to in court should the business re-offend.

We will always observe the strict legal codes on the way investigations are to be conducted and legal action taken.

Some of the above actions provide for appeal and review processes before or following their imposition.  When this is the case those affected will receive full written details of their rights.

Where English is not the first language of those being investigated we may be able to provide translations of our documents.

In some instances we share an enforcement role with other agencies, for example police and trading standards for under-age sales of alcohol  and in such situations we will share information on our activities with our partner organisations.