Licensing committees
Produced in partnership with David Lucas of Fraser Brown Solicitors
Licensing committees

The following Local Government guidance note Produced in partnership with David Lucas of Fraser Brown Solicitors provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Licensing committees
  • What are the duties and responsibilities of a licensing authority?
  • The requirement for a licensing authority to establish a licensing committee
  • Proceedings of a licensing committee
  • Exercise and delegation of functions
  • Pre-hearing procedure
  • Hearing procedure
  • Best practice for a licensing hearing
  • Decision-making

This Practice Note sets out the law and practice in relation to the duties and responsibilities of a licensing authority under the Licensing Act 2003 (LA 2003).

This includes the requirement for a licensing authority to establish a licensing committee to discharge its licensing functions and the option for a licensing committee to constitute one or more sub-committees to deal with most of its licensing functions.

A licensing authority should have a good working knowledge of the LA 2003 as interpreted by the courts, the relevant regulations made under the LA 2003, the statutory guidance and their own statement of licensing policy. It must also observe and follow the rules of natural justice; particularly in relation to hearings where it must act:

  1. fairly

  2. objectively

  3. impartially

  4. without any bias

What are the duties and responsibilities of a licensing authority?

The duties and responsibilities of a licensing authority consist of the following general duties:

  1. to carry out its functions under LA 2003 with a view to promoting the licensing objectives

  2. the licensing objectives are:

    1. the prevention of crime and disorder

    2. public safety

    3. the prevention of public nuisance

    4. the protection of children from harm

  3. in carrying out its licensing functions, a licensing authority must also have regard to:

    1. its licensing statement published under LA 2003, s 5

    2. any guidance issued by the Secretary of State