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Liquor licensing law up for review

20 December 2012

A wide ranging consultation on the operation of the recent legislation on alcohol licensing has been launched by the Scottish Government.

The paper, Further Options for Alcohol Licensing, states that the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005, along with the Alcohol etc (Scotland) Act 2010, the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010, and relevant regulations, "have delivered significant improvements in alcohol licensing, but the pace of legislative change has created issues of its own".

Not all aspects of the licensing regime are working effectively, it adds, and stakeholders such as the police and local authorities have highlighted areas that require attention. Concerns have been raised around such issues as whether the 2011 Brightcrew decision limits the ability of boards to consider wider issues, the treatment of members' clubs, and procedures at licensing boards.

The paper contains proposals to strengthen the powers of licensing boards and the police, and proposals to improve the effectiveness of the licensing regime. It also invites responses to comment on whether there are other issues that should be considered for reform.

It suggest further powers in relation to controling public disorder and supply of alcohol to under-18s, along with strengthening the application of the five licensing objectives. The "fit and proper" test could be reintroduced, and licensing boards enabled to update local licensing conditions without amending individual licences. There might also be a national policy statement that boards are required to have regard to when drawing up loal policies.

Responses on these and many other proposals are invited by 21 March 2013. A briefing note on the paper will be published in the January edition of the Journal.


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