Licensing Authorities will have the power to suspend Premises Licences and Club Premises Certificate for non-payment of the annual licence fee following reforms to the Licensing Act 2003 which came into force last week.
Provision has been made to allow for administrative errors and disputes.
There will be a 21-day “grace” period after the annual fee becomes due to allowing time to resolve disputes as to liability. If the dispute is not resolved in that period the Licence or Certificate becomes suspended, if payment is not made. Disputes must be raised before the fee becomes due.
The Licensing Authority can only suspend a Licence having given two working days notice of their intention to do so.
A suspension ceases to have the effect on the day on which the Licensing Authority receives payment of the outstanding fee. They should then issue a receipt to confirm the suspension has been lifted.
This is a potentially significant change which has been designed to overcome the problems which Licensing Authorities say they had in collecting the annual Premises Licence fee but their only remedy was to sue the Premises Licence Holder through the Courts for payment which is not worthwhile when the Premises Licence fee for a typical pub or off Licence is around £180.00.
Should you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact Andrew Cochrane on 01332 226151/07720 414598.