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Club Premises certificate

Please ensure you have read the Introduction before applying.

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What is a club premise certificate?

Adur & Worthing Councils' Licensing Unit is responsible for the licensing of private members' clubs as part of its duties under the Licensing Act 2003. Under the act such clubs can operate under the authority of a club premises certificate.

Only qualifying clubs can operate under a 'certificate' but there are a number of advantages and privileges that are enjoyed by such clubs over those that require a premises licence to operate.

Private members clubs are organisations where members have joined together for particular social, sporting or political purposes and then combined to buy alcohol in bulk as members of the organisation to supply in the club. They commonly include Labour, Conservative and Liberal Clubs, the Royal British Legion, other ex-services clubs, working men's clubs, miners' welfare institutions, social and sports clubs.

Technically the club only sells alcohol by retail at such premises to members' guests. Where members purchase alcohol, there is no sale (as technically the member owns part of the alcohol stock) and the money passing across the bar is merely a mechanism to preserve equity between members where one may consume more than another. This explains why the 2003 Act often refers to the supply of alcohol in the context of clubs and not just to the sale by retail.

Only 'qualifying' clubs may hold club premises certificates. In order to be a qualifying club, a club must have at least 25 members and meet a number of conditions. The grant of a club premises certificate means that a qualifying club is entitled to certain benefits. These include the authority to supply alcohol to members, and sell it to guests, on the premises to which the certificate relates without the need for any member or employee to hold a personal licence or for the club to specify a designated premises supervisor. This offers a significant economic saving to many small private members clubs. In addition there are other legal benefits regarding police and magistrates closure orders.

Qualifying clubs should not be confused with proprietary clubs, which are clubs run commercially by individuals, partnerships or businesses for profit. These require a premises licence and are not qualifying clubs. A qualifying club will be permitted under the terms of a club premises certificate to sell and supply alcohol to its members and their guests only. Instant membership is not permitted and members must wait at least two days between their application and their admission to the club.

If a club decides to put regular events on for the public or to offer its facilities for private parties for non-members and corporate events then it will have to obtain a premises licence. However, for occasional events an individual, on behalf of a club, may serve temporary event notices in respect of the premises to cover a period of up to 168 hours or 7 days on up to 12 occasions each calendar year, so long as no more than 499 people attend the event and subject to an overall maximum duration in the year of 21 days. On such occasions the club may admit and sell alcohol to the public or hire out their premises for use by the public.

All applicants will be subject to various mandatory conditions.

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Private members' clubs and children

Under the old licensing regime it was not an offence to supply alcohol to children in non-profit making private members clubs such as Labour, Liberal, Conservative, ex-services, sports, social and working men's clubs. Under the Licensing Act 2003 this is now a serious offence. It is illegal to sell alcohol to anyone under 18 anywhere in England and Wales. This removes a vast array of exceptions and exemptions that existed under the old licensing regime.

Under the Licensing Act 2003 it is an offence to allow any person under 16 to be present in licensed premises exclusively or primarily used for the sale of alcohol unless accompanied by an adult. It is an offence to allow any person under 16 to be present on licensed premises which are open for the supply of alcohol for consumption on the premises between the hours of midnight and 5:00am when unaccompanied by an adult. The Act also extends these provisions to temporary events where the supply of alcohol is the exclusive or primary activity at the event

The Licensing Act 2003 has increased the penalties for breaches of the act regarding children and has put certain enforcement activities available to the authorities on a legal footing:

  • The maximum fine for selling or supplying alcohol to children is £5,000
  • The maximum fine for persistently selling or supplying alcohol to children is £20,000
  • A personal licence can be suspend or forfeited at first offence. Previously justices licences could only be suspended on the second offence
  • Test purchasing is now on a statutory footing with guidance issued to the relevant authorities and courts on the steps to be taken and penalties to be imposed on those failing to meet their obligations

See also:

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Apply for a club premise certificate

See also: Licensing Act 2003 Fees

To apply for a club premise certificate:

You will need to enter your postcode, and then select option '4 - How to apply'

or download and use the paper forms below:

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Minor or Full variation on a club premise certificate

To apply for a Minor Variaton:

You will need to enter your postcode, and then select option '3 - How to change'

or download and use the paper forms below:

To apply for a Full Variaton:

You will need to enter your postcode, and then select option '3 - How to change'

or download and use the paper forms below:

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Change of club rules or secretary

You must notify us of a change of club rules or club secretary.

To apply for a change of club rules:

You will need to enter your postcode, and then select option '3 - How to change'

or download and use the paper form below:

Change of club secretary

You cannot apply online for this change - please download and use the paper form below:

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Replacement Licence

If you need your licence replaced (due to loss/mislaid, theft or damage) please notify us as soon as possible:

See also: Licensing Act 2003 Fees

You cannot apply online for replacement licences - please download and use the paper forms below:

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