Background

Under the Licensing Act 2003, when a business, organisation or individual want to provide entertainment to the public, authorisation in the form such as a licence, may be required from the local council acting as licensing authority.

The principle objectives of the 2003 Act are:

  • the prevention of crime and disorder;
  • public safety;
  • the prevention of public nuisance;
  • the protection of children from harm.

It is a criminal offence to not have a licence when one is required.

Schedule 1 of the 2003 Act sets out what activities are ‘regulated entertainment’ and when they are licensable as well as what activities are not regulated entertainments and so are therefore exempt from the Act.

The Act provides the description of entertainment as:

  • a performance of play;
  • an exhibition of a film;
  • an indoor sporting event;
  • a boxing or wrestling entertainment;
  • a performance of live music;
  • any playing of recorded music;
  • a performance of dance; or
  • entertainment of a similar description to a performance of live music, any playing of recorded music or a performance of dance.

The Licensing Act 2003 was later amended by the Live Music Act 2012 and the Licensing Act 2003 (Descriptions of Entertainment) (Amendment) Order 2013, which as a result deregulated some aspects of activities so long as certain conditions are met.

The Recent Changes

The Legislative Reform (Entertainment Licensing) Order 2014 and Deregulation Act 2015 which further deregulated some of the regulated activities under the Licensing Act 2003, came into force on 6 April 2015.

Some of the activities which may no longer require a licence are:

  • exhibitions of films where they are incidental to another activity which is exempt from licensing;
  • ‘not-for-profit’ film exhibitions* held in community premises provided that the audience does not exceed 500 and the organiser obtains consent to the screening from a person who is responsible for the premises and ensures that each such screening abides by age classification ratings;
  • a performance of amplified live music or playing of recorded music* on premises authorised to sell alcohol for consumption on the premises provided that the audience does not exceed 500 (subject to satisfying other conditions);
  • a performance of amplified live music or playing of recorded music* in a church hall, community hall, or other similar community premises, that is not licensed by a premises licence to sell alcohol, provided that the audience does not exceed 500 and the organiser obtains consent for the performance from a person who is responsible for the premises;
  • a performance of amplified live music or playing of recorded music* at the non-residential premises of a local authority, a school or a hospital provided that the audience does not exceed 500 and the organiser obtains consent for the performance on the relevant premises from the local authority concerned or the school or the health care provider for the hospital;

* between 08:00 and 23:00 on any day

Conclusion

The deregulations lift the administrative and cost burden of applying for a licence from organisations who intend to organise certain entertainment activities, provided that the activities are not licensable. This is particularly welcomed by organisations who organise community entertainment activities which promote and encourage participation in religious, cultural or sporting events.

Disclaimer

Please note that this article was not written with the intention of providing legal advice. Anyone wishing to organise an entertainment activity which may require a licence should seek legal advice.

Further information

Further information can be found on the government or local authority website.

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