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SIBA Quarterly Journal January 2015

In this article licensing lawyer Sam Faud of Napthens solicitors, provides an update on progress of the deregulation of regulated entertainment.

In 2011 the Government announced that it intended to reduce the licensing burdens on entertainment regulated by the Licensing Act 2003. This was in response to negative representations from interested parties that the cultural and voluntary sectors and commercial organisations were having to comply with the same red tape procedures, even where an event was low risk and unlikely to have a negative impact on the licensing objectives.

A consultation was released and views sought on whether entertainment was likely to increase the threat to the licensing objectives – or whether problems were more likely when entertainment was offered with the sale of alcohol.

The response was in support of deregulation of entertainment but suggested measures were put in place to include performance cut off times and audience limits.

There have been various stages to the deregulation, which is still in progress.

The first major piece of legislation that kick started the process:  The Live Music Act 2012 which came into force on 1 October 2012. This Act deregulates live amplified music in workplaces and alcohol licensed premises between the hours of 08.00 and 23.00, for audiences of 200 or less. The performance of unamplified music was also deregulated between the hours of 08.00 and 23.00.

Attention was then focused on:  Partially deregulating plays, indoor sporting events and dancing through the Licensing Act 2003 (Descriptions of Entertainment) (Amendment) Order 2013 which came in to force on 27 June 2013. The deregulation takes effect between the hours of 08.00 and 23.00, allowing an audience of up to 500 for plays and dance performances and up to 100 people for indoor sporting events.

The latest legislation to be approved:  The Legislative Reform (Entertainment Licensing) Order 2014 (LRO) which is scheduled to take effect from 6 April 2015. This Order will amend the Licensing Act 2003 to allow certain licensable activities within certain circumstances to become deregulated, including:

  • The Government introduced the concept of “trusted providers” which includes local authorities, health care providers and schools. These organisations will have the benefit of a high level of deregulation. Any entertainment has to be on their own defined premises and will only be exempt between the hours of 08.00 and 23.00 with no limit on audience size. If alcohol is to be sold at events then this will still require a licence.
  • When “trusted providers” offer their own defined premises to third parties, live and recorded music will be deregulated between the hours of 08.00 and 23.00 for audiences of up to 500. Unlicensed community premises will be able to offer live and recorded music between 08.00 and 23.00 for audiences of 500 or less.
  • The audience limit specified in the Live Music Act 2012 of 200 will be increased to 500.
  • Recorded music in licensed premises will be deregulated between the hours of 08.00 and 23.00 for audiences of 500 or less.
  • “Not for profit” film exhibitions in community premises between 08.00-23.00 for audiences up to 500 people.  There is a proposal to include an “incidental” film provision, the definition of which will come down to the facts of each individual matter.

In summary, this deregulation will be useful to those providers offering low risk entertainment, for example pubs and breweries, and will reduce the financial costs and administrative inconvenience involved.

However, providers looking to utilise these benefits need to be aware that there are other means of regulating entertainment (such as Noise Abatement Notices), so must take care to promote the licensing objectives, in particular the prevention of public nuisance.

For advice on this or other legal issues affecting your business please contact SIBA Legal Helpline: 0845 6710277

North West law firm Napthens LLP is a SIBA supplier associate and gold standard sponsor. The firm has a team of specialists looking after the legal requirements of clients in the leisure and licensed trade sector, with clients including Daniel Thwaites plc and Sceptre Leisure Ltd.

Napthens manages the SIBA Legal Helpline which offers legal advice and guidance on a wide range of legal issues affecting your business including:  general commercial, intellectual property, corporate finance, dispute resolution and litigation, commercial property, licensing, debt recovery and employment law.

Any enquiry through the helpline will receive up to 1 hour of free legal expertise (if further work is require, you’ll be advised of the appropriate charging structure)

Full details of the helpline can be found on the SIBA Members Toolbox