East Devon District Council

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Policy Licensing enforcement policy

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5. Taking legal action

To ensure any action we take is proportionate and targeted only at cases in which action is needed, a number of factors will be taken into consideration, including:

  • the seriousness of any alleged offence
  • the value involved
  • the age and vulnerability of those affected
  • the previous history of those involved
  • any statutory defence available
  • action taken to prevent any recurrence
  • any explanation offered and, as far as the law allows, the circumstances and attitude of the alleged offender(s) towards compliance and the investigators
  • what course of action will best serve the community interest

Prosecution is always likely in cases that involve:

  • serious offences affecting the health, safety or morality of the public
  • serious offences relating to animal health and welfare
  • serious offences involving fraud
  • continued or gross negligence
  • obstruction or wilful non-compliance
  • deceptive or misleading claims or actions
  • breaking statutory prohibitions
  • breaking court orders
  • where national policies indicates such course of action, or
  • where the community interest is detrimentally affected to a significant extent 

The decision to prosecute is taken by our head of legal, licensing and democratic services:

  • in accordance with all relevant statutory requirements and codes, for example the Code for Crown Prosecutors
  •  in accordance with all other best practice guides, and
  • without any unnecessary delay