Children and alcohol offences under the Licensing Act 2003
Produced in partnership with Jonathan Smith of Poppleston Allen
Children and alcohol offences under the Licensing Act 2003

The following Corporate Crime guidance note Produced in partnership with Jonathan Smith of Poppleston Allen provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Children and alcohol offences under the Licensing Act 2003
  • The children and alcohol offences
  • Time limits for bringing proceedings
  • Sale/supply of alcohol to children—LA 2003, s 146
  • Who is a 'person' for the purposes of prosecution?
  • Defences to the sale/supply of alcohol to children
  • Sentencing for offence of sale/supply of alcohol to children
  • Alternative to prosecution for offence of selling alcohol to children
  • Allowing the sale of alcohol to children—LA 2003, s 147
  • Meaning of 'relevant premises'
  • more

The children and alcohol offences

The Licensing Act 2003 (LA 2003) creates a wide range of offences involving children and alcohol. The most common offences are:

  1. sale or supply of alcohol to children

  2. allowing the sale or supply of alcohol to children

  3. persistently selling alcohol to children

  4. purchase of alcohol by or on behalf of children

Note however that purchase of alcohol by or on behalf of children under LA 2003, s 149 is rarely prosecuted.

All of the offences in the LA 2003 are offences which can only be tried in the magistrates' court.

Time limits for bringing proceedings

The time limit for commencing proceedings for offences under the LA 2003 is 12 months. Failure to observe the statutory time limits will mean that the prosecution will be time barred from bringing proceedings.

See Practice Note: Commencing criminal proceedings—applying for the issue of a summons.

Sale/supply of alcohol to children—LA 2003, s 146

The prosecution must prove:

  1. a person

    1. sells alcohol

    2. to an individual aged under 18

    or

  2. a club

    1. supplies alcohol

    2. to an individual aged under 18

    or

  3. a person on behalf of a club

    1. supplies alcohol

    2. to an individual aged under 18

Under the LA 2003 a club is held to have supplied alcohol to an individual under the age of 18 whether the person making the supply is a