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GUEST,ET Licensing Bill - How will it work ? (331* d) RE: Licensing Bill - How will it work ? 17 Jan 04

Official Guidance for Licensees


Dear Licensee

On the 10th July last year, the Licensing Act 2003 ("the Act") received Royal Assent. The Act marks the end of existing outdated licensing regimes and introduces new licensing laws for the use of premises for the sale and supply of alcohol, the provision of regulated entertainment and the provision of late night refreshment.   If you wish to continue selling or supplying alcohol after the Act is fully implemented you will need to have new permissions; a premises licence and separate personal licences. Applications will need to be made to your local licensing authority (normally your local authority) and NOT the magistrates' court.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) will shortly announce the date for the beginning of the transitional period within which applications may be made. Details will be available on the DCMS website:
In making your application, the following should be noted:


You will normally be able to apply for a 'conversion' of your existing licence(s) to a new premises licence and to have a fast track application for a personal licence. Applications for the premises licence can only be made during a period of six months following the day to be appointed by DCMS to start the transitional period.   Applications for personal licences are likely to be allowed in the same period. You will normally be entitled to the new premises licence, containing all your existing permissions and conditions, unless there is an objection by the police.

If you do not apply during this period, you cannot convert your existing licence(s) and you will need to apply under the full requirements of the Act. If so, objections could be raised by a number of specified groups, including for example the police and local residents. It is in your own and your business' interest to consider whether you wish to take advantage of this conversion process.

You will need the correct documentation and completed forms for any applications for premises or personal licences.   Information will be available on the DCMS website in due course.


An application to change your existing permissions or hours is called a 'variation' and can be made at the same time as an application for a 'conversion' of your existing licence. When fully implemented, the Act marks the end of national "permitted hours" during which alcohol may be sold or supplied. If you convert your existing justices' licence, your existing trading hours will be preserved as a condition of your new premises licence. However, you will be free to apply to change the hours during which you sell or supply alcohol on any day of the week. If this variation is granted, the hours, proposed by you, will then be controlled individually by the new premises licence for your premises. You can also consider through the variation process to add other permissions covering licensable activities such as the provision of regulated entertainment or provision of late night refreshment. When a variation is sought, representations, including objections, may be raised by a number of specified groups, including for example the police and local residents.

You will need additional documentation and forms for this kind of application. Information will again be available in due course on the DCMS website.

This information is being provided to help you prepare for the changes.

Please note that applications are not required to be processed by your local licensing authority until the date to be announced shortly by the DCMS. Should you wish to obtain an application form or further advice, nearer this time, you should contact your licensing authority (normally your local authority) and ask to speak with the team responsible for alcohol, regulated entertainment or late night refreshment licensing.

Finally, please note that if you wish to request any change to your existing licence or apply for a new justices' licence to be effective prior to the date when the Act is fully implemented, you will still need to do so via your local magistrates' court under the Licensing Act 1964. The new licensing system will not take effect until the end of a transitional period. This will be announced by DCMS. This will ensure that there has been an opportunity over a period of nine months for all existing licences to be converted.

If you wish to obtain more details about the future licensing arrangements, you may wish to consult the DCMS website ( which contains advice and information about the new system.

February 2004

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