Licensing Act 2003 guidance

Last Updated: 3 April 2024

A premises licence is required to allow premises to be used for one or more licensable activities, this would apply to anyone concerned with:

  • pubs and nightclubs
  • indoor sporting events
  • off licences
  • restaurants that serve alcohol
  • businesses offering hot foods or drinks between 11pm and 5am
  • hotels and guest houses and other places that serve alcohol
  • private members' clubs and social clubs
  • theatres and amateur dramatic groups
  • cinemas
  • organisers of occasional entertainment
  • live music performances

Criminal offences under the Licensing Act


Licensing Act fees are set by the government and payment should be made with your initial application. An annual fee will then be applicable to maintain the premises licence.

The fee for a premises licence or club premises certificate is based on the non domestic rateable value of the premises. To find out your premises rateable value contact Business Rates

Live Music Act 2012

Under the Live Music Act 2012 live music will cease to be regulated entertainment in venues licensed for the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises in the following situations:

  • when it is unamplified and takes place between 8am and 11pm
  • when it is amplified and takes place in the presence of an audience of 200 persons or less and is provided between 8am and 11pm

The premises must be open for the sale of alcohol during the time that the live music is provided for the exemption/s to take effect. Additionally, any condition attached to the Premises Licence relating to live music ceases to have effect in respect of the live music unless we say otherwise on the licence pursuant to a Review Hearing.

For those premises which are not licensed for alcohol sales, the act states that live music is not regulated entertainment when it is unamplified and takes place between 8am and 11pm.

Amplified music in unlicensed venues will still require formal authorisation from us such as a premises licence or temporary event notice. The act also removes the need to license entertainment facilities. This means dance floors, microphone stands and pianos etc.

Raffles, tombola's and gifts for customers

Section 175 of the Licensing Act 2003 generally treats such activity as not being a licensable activity if:

a) the lottery is promoted as incidental of exempted entertainment

b) after deduction of all relevant expenses, the whole proceeds of the entertainment are applied for purposes other than private gain

Any activity in respect of the sale of alcohol needs to be licensed. As such a gift which forms an inducement, promotion or indirect charge is likely to be a licensable activity. However complimentary gifts given without any intended or expected reward would not be licensable.

Guidance for format of notice

For a period of no less than 28 consecutive days, starting on the day after the day on which the application was given to the Licensing Authority, the applicant must display a notice on the premises containing a summary of the application. This shall set out matters including the name of the applicant, the premises address, proposed licensable activities and the proposed hours of opening.

The advertising notice should also contain information about where representations can be made or where the full details of the applications can be viewed, ie Westmorland and Furness Council, dates between which any interested parties are able to make a representation and a statement noting that it is an offence to knowingly make a false or reckless statement in connection to this application, to which a fine may be attached.

Other requirements of the Advertisement are:

  • the advert must be displayed on a pale blue paper or card
  • it must be a minimum of A4 or larger (preferably A3)
  • font size 16 (minimum)
  • font style Arial

The advert must be displayed in a prominent position on or near the premise, clearly visible to the general public.

The applicant must also advertise a notice of their application in a local newspaper, circulating in the vicinity of the premises. The newspaper notice must be advertised at least once during a period of 10 working days, starting on the day after the application was made to the Licensing Authority. Applicants are advised to contact the newspaper they intend to use before making an application to check whether sufficient space is available for their notice to be advertised within the required period. The consultation period allowed in the newspaper notice must coincide with the expiry date for representations shown in the notice displayed on the premises. 


Application is lodged with the Licensing Authority on 28 February. A notice must be displayed on the premises from 1st March and should allow up to 28 March for representations to be made. If the applicant allow up to 28 March for representations to be made. If the applicant subsequently advertises the notice in the newspaper on say 7th March, the expiry date for representations should still be 28 March. 

Policies and guidelines

Statement of Licensing Policy (PDF 559KB / 46 pages)

Guidance under Section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003

 For more information contact any partner agencies mentioned in the document.