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Essential Licensing Law

The Licensing Act 2003 controls the sale of alcohol in England and Wales. It is fundamental principles that must be followed by everyone involved in licensed activities.


  • The prevention of crime and disorder

  • Public safety

  • The prevention of public nuisance

  • The protection of children from harm



To sell Alcohol, you must first be given permission by a Personal License Holder (authorisation)                                                                                                

The Designated Premises Supervisor is the person responsible for the sale of alcohol on licensed premises.

According to the law you are personally responsible for selling and serving alcohol, you must follow the premises procedures at all times.

Breaking the law may result in prosecution and fines for you, the company or both

You must prevent disorderly conduct taking place and may ask a disorderly person to leave the premises.


Under-18s – Offences


It is an offence to:

Sell alcohol to an under-18 at any time

Knowingly allow the sale of alcohol to an under-18 or the consumption of alcohol by an under-18

Purchase alcohol for an under-18

Deliver alcohol to any person under-18

Send an under-18 to collect alcohol.

Evidence required for a prosecution:

That the sale actually happened(a receipt or reliable witness)

That the person was under the age of 18.



Under-18s – Due Diligence



Believed that the person was over 18, and

All reasonable steps taken, or

No one suspected they were under 18  


Reasonable steps:

Requiring valid photographic proof of age

Having a ‘no proof, no sale’ policy.


Under-18s - Penalties

Police can issue a fixed penalty notice of £80

If prosecuted a fine of up to £5,000 the premises licence can be reviewed


Persistent underage sales can result in a fine of up to £10,000 and/or the suspension of the premises licence.

Under-18s – Consumption


     Those aged under 18 cannot drink alcohol on licensed premises



    An accompanied 16 or 17 years old may drink beer, wine or cider with a table meal.

    The alcohol must be purchased by an adult.


Under-18s – Selling Alcohol

It is an offence to allow an under-18 to sell alcohol unless:

Each and every sale is approved by a responsible person, or it is for consumption with a full table meal.

Under-18s – Attempting Purchase

Those aged under 18 commit an offence if they purchase or attempt to purchase alcohol

The person under 18 can be fined £1,000.


Proof of Age                

Photograph driving licence

A passport

A valid proof of age card (PASS scheme)


Proof of Age Challenge policy


Anyone who appears to be under 21 or 25 is asked to provide proof he/she is 18 or over


Checking Proof of age documents


Date of birth shows the person is 18 +

Photograph is a true likeness

Validate by checking the document as not been tampered with

Hologram must be present on a proof of age scheme card


Best way to refuse the sale of alcohol

Firmly but calmly refuse to sell alcohol explaining the reason for refusal by referring to the law or company policy. Always call a Manager or supervisor if you have any problems or are unsure about the procedure


The following age restricted products must never be sold to anyone under the age of 18

Alcohol - Cigarettes/Cigars - Lighter refills

If these conditions are not followed then any sale becomes unauthorised.

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