Guide A guide to the Licensing Act 2003 GN1

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1. What is the general effect of the Act?

The Licensing Act 2003 transferred responsibility for the licensing of premises such as pubs, nightclubs, off licences and restaurants that sell or supply alcohol away from the magistrates court to the local councils. The old legislation about public entertainment, theatres, cinemas and late night refreshment licensing has also been replaced under the Act – all these activities are now covered by the new regime.

What do I need a licence for?

You need to obtain a licence for the following activities:

  • To sell alcohol by retail
  • If you are a qualifying club, to supply alcohol to a club member, or to sell alcohol to a guest of a club member
  • To provide regulated entertainment
  • To provide late night refreshment - selling hot food or hot drink between 11pm and 5am for consumption on or off the premises, unless you are a hotel, staff canteen or campsite

What are the fees for the various licences?

The fees for the different types of licences and permissions have been set in regulations by Parliament. The fees and charges that will apply under the Licensing Act 2003 are shown on our Licensing Act 2003 fees page.

The contents of these pages are provided as an information guide only.  They are not a full and authoritative statement of the law and do not constitute professional or legal advice.  Any statements on these pages do not replace, extend, amend or alter in any way the statutory provisions of the Licensing Act 2003 or any subordinate legislation made under it or statutory guidance issued in relation to it.  We accept no responsibility for any errors, omissions or misleading statements on these pages, or any site to which these pages refer. In particular, it must be noted that, although we have made every effort to ensure that the information in these pages is correct, changes in the law and the nature of implementation mean that the information in these pages cannot be guaranteed as accurate.