Want a Drinks Licence? A Tour of the Personal Licence Application Process

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licence tour

A Guided Tour of the alcohol licensing process in England & Wales prior to the Licensing Act 2003 would have involved a meeting with the Licensing Justices and a passing salute to Grandfather Rights. A Dickensian tour no less.

A modern, simplified and integrated pathway towards alcohol licensing now reigns.


A Brief Traipse through the Licensing Act 2003

licensing act 2003

Perusal of some 284 A4 pages may become for many newcomers a wearying experience. Albeit well-drafted, it is densely written and may take time for a comprehensive understanding to emerge.

What might, however, catch your eye is that two Licences, A Personal Licence and a Premises Licence, are required for the sale and supply of alcohol to consumers. You might then notice that a third type of Licence for temporary events can be obtained without the requirement for the first two Licences.

Of course, many of you will already be thumbing through the breakdown of fees payable for both Licences and wondering whether the tour was a sensible idea in the first place.


Homing in on the Personal Licence

alcohol licence homing pigeon

Providing that you have no relevant convictions (or they are spent), and are over the age of 18, your first hurdle will be obtaining the Level 2 Award for Personal Licence Holders (or APLH). This is a multi-choice test taken under exam conditions at an approved licensing centre.

You can study for this test by attending a one day course or by obtaining an Express Home Study Pack [1]. For better results, purchasing a Personal Licence Multiple Choice test bank, for exam conditions home training, may be a wise investment [2].

alcohol licence navigator pigeon

Nearly there now. Once you have passed the APLH course and the test Certificate has arrived through the post, you can apply to your local licensing authority for a Personal Licence.

The Application itself is prescribed in statute (the Licensing Act 2003) although many local authorities tend to produce Applications with their own respective logos on the front page. Either will be accepted. A Criminal Record Disclosure Form must accompany the form together with two endorsed passport sized photographs and the fee, which is usually £37.00.

alcohol licence leader pigeon

Trusting all goes smoothly, your local authority will grant your application and you will receive in the post a Personal Licence card which will last for ten years.

So, you have accomplished the first Licence required to sell alcohol. Now all you need are premises to sell the alcohol from. Premises must have a Premises Licence in place before trade can start...


on the wagon

The Follow On Tour: 'Want a Drinks Licence? - A Tour of the Premises Licence Application Process'


[1] Pro-Leagle now offers a Personal Licence Express Home Study Pack.

[2] You can purchase the Nation Certificate of Personal Licence Holder (APLH) Personal Licence Multiple Choice Test for Candidates on the Pro-Leagle website (current cost: £15.99 or £5.99 for online access).

[3] Obtained from the Criminal Record Bureau or Disclosure Scotland.


This article was provided by Pro-Leagle - The Law Firm for Laymen

Written by Corinne Tuplin (LLB Solicitor) August 2009