The Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 provides that personal licences last for 10 years from the date of issue. The renewal application window is:
“The period of 9 months beginning 12 months before the expiry date of the licence.”
For example, if a licence was issued on 1 November 2010, the application period would run from 1 November 2019 until 31 July 2020.
An application is submitted to the Licensing Board which issued the licence. The form - which is standard throughout Scotland - is normally available on Council websites and used both for first applications and renewals. You should start by deleting the words “First Application” at the top of the form. Question 3 is ignored.
When you’re inserting your address (where you’re “ordinarily resident”), it should match that shown on the current licence. If you’ve moved home since it was issued, the Licensing Board ought to have been informed no later than one month after the change.
Question 6 asks about any convictions you have incurred for a “relevant or foreign offence”. If you have been convicted of any offence it’s absolutely essential that you take legal advice as to whether it needs to be declared. An offence might be “spent” under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 so that it should be undeclared (but see “Pending changes to the law”, below). The offence might not be relevant. For example, driving or being in charge of a motor vehicle with an alcohol concentration above the prescribed limit is a “relevant offence”; but, surprisingly, a failure to provide police with a roadside breath sample is not.
A “foreign offence” is one committed outwith Scotland which is similar to a “relevant offence”. So, for example, if someone is convicted of an offence under the Licensing Act 2003 (England and Wales) that could well be a “foreign offence”: the sale of alcohol to a person under 18 is an obvious example.
If you’re convicted of a relevant or foreign offence after submitting the application but before the Board has made a decision, you must notify the Board: see also “Ongoing obligations” below.
The form needs to be accompanied by:
That last requirement has generated a huge amount of uncertainty which the Scottish Government attempted to remove through a “recommendation” that renewal applicants should submit evidence of refresher training. Since our last blog on this subject was published Scottish Ministers have now formally accredited the Scottish Certificate for Personal Licence Holders (Refresher) for the purpose of renewal applications.
If you lodge the form at the Council’s offices, make sure you obtain a receipt. Where an application is sent by post, it’s wise to employ the recorded delivery service and track delivery using the Royal Mail reference number.
A copy of the application will be sent to the Chief Constable and a local Licensing Standard’s officer. The vast majority of applications will not a require a hearing before the Licensing Board, in which case the licence will simply be granted. A hearing may, however, take place in a range of circumstances. For example, where:
Where a hearing takes place - legal representation is highly advisable - the Licensing Board may refuse the application on one of two grounds:
When the renewed licence is issued, remember to ensure it’s available for production to a police or standards officer when you’re working on any licensed premises,
There are a number of other obligations to keep in mind:
Failure to comply with these requirements “without reasonable excuse” amounts to an offence.
Remember, too, that refresher training needs to be completed within five years of the renewed licence being issued. Evidence of that training must be supplied to the Board no later than three months after the expiry of the five-year period. For example, if a licence was issued on 1 November 2019, the training must be accomplished by 31 October 2019 and the deadline for providing evidence is 31 January 2020.
At present, a conviction for a relevant or foreign that is considered “spent” in terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 is to be “disregarded” so that it need not be disclosed in an application for a personal (or premises) licence.
This provision is set to be repealed by the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015 but no date has yet been fixed for the change.
Regulations made under the Immigration Act 2016, which have yet to be commenced, will subject licence applicants to “right to work” checks with new sanctions on illegal workers and rogue employers.
View our Personal Licence Renewals 2019 guide – All you need to know and what you need to do.