Thousands of licences at risk in Scotland under training rule

TLT Stephen MGowan

Stephen McGowan (pictured), partner and head of licensing (Scotland) at law firm TLT, urges licensees in Scotland to book training now to avoid their licences being revoked

Under the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005, anyone who holds a personal licence, which authorises a person to sell alcohol and that was issued on or before September 1, 2009, must pass a special refresher training course.

The training must be completed no later than August 31, 2014, and the certificate presented to the licensing board no later than November 30, 2014. If either of these dates is missed, the local licensing board has no option but to revoke that licence under the terms of the Act.

Figures from the Scottish Licensing Law and Practice Journal indicate that up to 20,000 people have not notified the licensing board that they have completed the training. It’s now a matter of weeks away from the deadline and every one of those licences will be revoked unless the training is done over the next month.

As well as a person losing their personal licence, which means they could lose their job, they are not entitled to reapply for another licence for five years. If the person who has their licence revoked is a named manager of a premises, such as a bar or local shop, that premises would have to stop selling alcohol until a new manager could be found and named on the premises licence.

The Scottish Government should look again at this issue and consider emergency legislation. Despite Holyrood already proposing to remove the five-year ban, this won’t help the many that are currently affected by the new Act.

The 2005 Act requires personal licence holders to undertake a refresher training course in order to keep the licence valid. Evidence of this must then be submitted to the local licensing board that issued the licence. The detail of the training course was authorised by the Scottish Government following input from a working group of various stakeholders.

Licensing lawyers and trade commentators have been telling those in the trade about this deadline for some time now. Everyone who works in the licensed trade in Scotland should ask colleagues, friends and employees the question: have you booked your refresher training?

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