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Introduction to the Licensing Act 2003

What is the Licensing Act 2003?

The Licensing Act 2003 regulates the sale and supply of alcohol, the provision of regulated entertainment and the sale & supply of late night refreshment. Responsibility for the administration and enforcement of licensing the above activities is that of the Licensing Authority.

For Southwick, Shoreham and Lancing the Licensing Authority is Adur District Council and in the borough of Worthing this is Worthing Borough Council.

Whilst the two councils retain their independent status as licensing authorities the officers of 'Adur & Worthing Councils' Licensing Unit administers for both.

See also:

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Who is affected by the act?

The Licensing Act affects anyone who is concerned with:

  • Pubs and nightclubs
  • Indoor sporting events
  • Off-licences
  • Restaurants that serve alcohol
  • Businesses offering hot food between 11 pm and 5 am
  • Businesses that provide regulated entertainment
  • Hotels, guest houses and other places that sell alcohol
  • Private member’s clubs and social clubs
  • Theatres and amateur dramatic groups
  • Cinemas
  • Community and youth clubs
  • Organisers of occasional entertainment

Under the act there are a number of different types of licences and permissions required to operate and a number of requirements that have to be addressed by anyone that seeks to provide any of the above facilities. These include:

The act makes it the overriding responsibility of licensees, the council and other agencies to promote the four Licensing Objectives:

  • The prevention of crime and disorder
  • Public safety
  • The prevention of public nuisance
  • The protection of children from harm

As Licensing Authorities Adur District Council and Worthing Borough Council are each required by the Licensing Act to draw up their own Statement of Licensing Policy.

These policy documents details how each authority will consider and deal with licensing applications made in their area. These statements of policy are vital not only as a guide to applicants, the public and councillors but as the basis by which all decisions made by the authorities are defended in a court of law.

These policies are constantly reviewed but have to be formally reviewed at least every five years.

A number of licensable activities are exempt from the requirement to obtain a licence in certain circumstances:

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