Christmas cheer, beer and not licensing fear!

Guest Article by John Gaunt and Partners Solicitors. Christmas time can be wonderful for your business with the opportunity to generate income from increased footfall into your premises. However, Christmas can sometimes come with its own Licensing pitfalls for you and your staff.

Whilst planning for your Christmas events, you should seek to maintain good relationships with the neighbours around your premises.

A number of late night parties in quick succession over the Christmas period can damage the relationship and lead to complaints against the premises.

Early notification to your neighbours in respect of the events you have planned can help to avoid complaints and unwanted intervention by Regulatory Authorities.

Once you have decided on your Christmas plan, briefing your staff promptly regarding potential issues can demonstrate good management tools and due diligence structure. This is a key factor in you upholding the licensing objectives over the Christmas period.

Work parties at Christmas can, of course, attract all kinds of ages, and people who drink a little bit more than they usually do, you and your staff must be aware of the offences you could fall foul of as a licence holder such as:

  • Sales of alcohol to children 
  • Knowingly allow the sale of alcohol to children 
  • Selling of alcohol to someone who is drunk
  • Allowing disorderly conduct on licensed premises.

All of the above could take place when Christmas cheer is in full effect, but these would be unwanted ‘presents’ for your premises should you or your staff be found guilty of them. The New Year should be the time of New Year’s resolutions for your premises, not New Year’s Licensing Reviews!

When you and your staff are booking Christmas parties and events, you must also make sure you check your Premises Licence to ensure, that what you are seeking to put on, is within the powers afforded to you by that licence.

If you are not licensed for the activities you wish to put on at the venue, you should consider whether you require a Temporary Event Notice (TEN).

If you open on Christmas Day, you should carefully check your Christmas Day licensing hours (if they are specified upon your licence), they may be more restrictive than other days of the year.

The conditions upon your Premises Licence should also be reviewed for the Christmas period, many licences have a “Risk Assessment for door staff” condition, and you will need to carefully consider this when planning your events. In particular, if you feel the risks at your particular premises are heightened with the inclusion of Christmas work parties and events taking place over the festive period.

So early planning can make your premises full of “Christmas cheer and beer” and not licensing fear!

For Specialist Licensing advice on conditions and your premises licence contact John Gaunt & Partners