Alcohol licensing

Licensing laws of the United Kingdom regulate the sale and consumption of alcohol, with separate legislation for England and Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland being passed.

Throughout the United Kingdom, the sale of alcohol is restricted – pubs, restaurants, shops and other premises must be licensed by the local authority in order to sell alcohol.

The individual responsible for the premises must also hold a personal licence. Premises licences can be categorised to include on-licences (allowing consumption of alcohol on the premises) and off-licences (alcohol must be removed from the vendor's premises and drunk elsewhere).

The premises licence is granted to a person, and not to the establishment. Before the Licensing Act 2003 came into effect, there was a legal requirement to display the name of the licensee above the entrance to an on-licence location.

The sign would typically say "NAME OF LANDLORD licensed for the sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises". Under the 2003 Act, that requirement has been repealed (though such signs are still often seen).

Instead, the premises licence holder must secure that the official summary of the licence (or a certified copy) is prominently displayed at the premises, as well as the name and position of any person nominated as the custodian of the summary premises licence.

DCMS guidance on the Licencing Act 2003.

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