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Jargon buster

Some common terms used in licensing documents and notices you may receive – we have tried to put them into plain English.

“Club premises certificate” – a relatively rare form of authorization for licensable activities (the others are a ‘premises licence’ and a ‘Temporary Event Notice’). Premises such as working mens’ clubs, or sports/social clubs may have this form of authorization.

“Conditions” – a requirement added to a licence to ensure that certain events or problems do not occur, or restricting the operation of the premises. Conditions that may be of particular relevance to residents as they can deal with matters such as clearing outside tables by a certain time, or that sound limiting devices be installed and in use at all times, and that notices asking patrons to leave quietly be displayed.

“Hearing” – licensing decisions are made at a public hearing if there has been formal opposition to an application or if a review has been called for. Everyone who has made a “representation” has the right to attend a meeting before a licensing sub-committee (a panel of local Councillors). The Councillors hear from all parties. They ask questions and hear evidence and arguments. They then decide whether to grant the licence in full, in part or to reject the application completely. They can also impose conditions on the licence if they believe that would deal with the issues raised by any interested parties.

“In the vicinity” – This term no longer exists, but is included for completeness as it may sometimes be referred to. It was abolished along with the term “interested parties”. It is no longer a requirement to live ‘in the vicinity’ of the premises to be able to make a relevant representation. However, representations must not be frivolous, vexatious or repetitious. Under the gambling Act 2005, the test is whether the person making the representation is, in the opinion of the licensing authority, ‘likely to be affected’ by the proposed gambling activity. The Guidance to the Gambling Act contains additional information as to how the licensing authority should reach its decision.

“Late Night Refreshment” – supplying hot food or drink to the public between 11pm and 5am. This applies to take-away and eat-in facilities.

“Licensable activities” – the sale of alcohol, the supply of alcohol by or on behalf of a club, the provision of ‘regulated entertainment’ and the provision of late night refreshment. Authorisation for licensable activities can be provided in the form of a premises licence, club premises certificate or temporary event notice (TEN).

“Licensed Premises” – any premises that sells alcohol, provides “regulated entertainment” or “late night refreshment”. Includes pubs, restaurants, late night cafes and takeaways, theatres, cinemas, nightclubs, bars and off-licences.

“Licensing Authority” – the body responsible for licensing functions under Licensing Act 2003 in any given area, usually a local authority. The licensing authority for residents of Westminster is Westminster City Council.

“Licensing Objectives” – an objection or an application for a review must relate to at least one of the four licensing objectives, which are: prevention of public nuisance, public safety, prevention of crime and disorder and protection of children from harm. Licensing authorities must carry out their functions with a view to promoting these objectives. ‘Prevention of public nuisance’ is the one most often used by residents, and typically includes noise and littering issues. The ‘licensing objectives’ under Gambling Act 2005 are different and do not include ‘prevention of public nuisance’.

“Other persons” – people, usually local residents, or organisations that have the right to make a representation to licensing authorities on applications for the grant, variation or review of premises licences or club premises certificates. They can also call for a review of a premises licence or club premises certificate. ‘Other persons” used to be known as “interested parties”. This latter term still applies to those making representations under Gambling Act 2005, although the precise requirements are different. Groups or bodies representing residents (e.g. residents’ associations, amenity groups etc) are entitled to make representations.

“Premises Licence” – the most common form of authorisation for the use of premises for ‘licensable activities’. Your local pub, nightclub or restaurant will have a ‘premiess licence’ to authorize the sale of alcohol and other ‘licensable activities’. Other forms of authorization are a ‘club premises certificate’ and a ‘temporary event notice’.

“Regulated entertainment” – the provision or entertainment such as recorded music, film, plays, and so on. Similar forms of entertainment will also be included in this term and a licence will be required to provide any form of “regulated entertainment”. Live music in certain circumstances and facilities for entertainment (eg a dancefloor, microphone, piano) are no longer licensable following Live Music Act 2012 coming in to force. Conditions on existing licences relating to live music are dis-applied. However, protections for residents by way of review remain.

“Representation” – the formal method for residents to have a say in licensing decisions. Residents can object to the granting of a licence or the variation of a licence. They can also call for a review of a licence if there are problems with a premises. All this is done by making a representation in writing to the council’s licensing department. The representation must be about the likely effect of the grant of an application on the promotion of the licensing objectives. For more information see our guide “How to make a representation”.

“Responsible authorities” – are entitled to make representations on applications and can initiate a review. The Environmental Health authority and the police are responsible authorities.

“Review” – if a premises is causing problems or nuisance then residents have the right to ask the council to review the licence. This is a procedure that was not available to residents before and is a useful tool for anyone who has concerns about a licensed premises. For more information please see our guide on the topic.

“Statutory nuisance” – this is a different concept to ‘public nuisance’. The Council has separate powers under Environmental Protection Act 1990 to serve a ‘noise abatement notice’ for statutory nuisance.

“Temporary Event Notice” – as the name suggests, a temporary permission to provide licensable activities. It is not an application as such but a notice given to the licensing authority. The procedure changed in April 2012, increasing the number and duration of events per calendar year. On the other hand, police and Environmental Health can object to the notices, under any of the licensing objectives, and require that conditions are added to the notice. If no agreement is reached, the licensing authority can issue a counter notice.

“Variation” – if a licensee wishes to increase the hours the premises is open for, or wishes to put on regulated entertainment, or provide late night refreshment, or to have a “condition” of the premises licence removed or replaced, they apply to vary the licence.

If there is any word, term or document that you do not understand or that you think should be added to this list please email