It is important to be prepared for the future even in these bleak times.  Although pubs and bars nationwide are currently closed under the new social distancing rules, it’s important to safeguard your premises licence and your pavement licence for future trade.

Take action to prevent your premises licence from lapsing

In the event of insolvency you must take action otherwise your premises licence will lapse forever.

A licence will lapse on the insolvency of the holder.  There is then a 28 day window within which a transfer can be submitted or an application made for an interim authority by an insolvency practitioner. If no such action is taken within 28 days then the licence dies irrevocably.

If an insolvency practitioner is granted an interim authority, this then provides a further 3 months grace for a transfer application to be submitted. If no action is taken after 3 months the licence will lapse once again and will be incapable of being further reinstated.

It is important to be aware that on insolvency the licences lapses immediately and all licensable activities must cease. Given the current circumstances this will only be an issue if your premises are currently trading for take – away. The 28 days allows a period to resurrect the licence but until the requisite application is submitted the licence has still lapsed. The 28 day period is a strict statutory limit and if no application is made the licence is lost.

If you find yourself dealing with a premises in this situation – take action and protect the licence. Don’t miss a deadline and lose the licence forever.

Annual Fees

Another important point to remember in relation to your premises licence is the payment of the annual fee. If  you don’t pay the fee the Licensing Authority may take action to suspend your licence. However, given the current situation this is potentially a low risk cost saving, as the suspension can be lifted by payment of the fee prior to reopening.

Pavement Licences

There is a greater risk of losing your licence if you fail to renew a pavement licence.  If a pavement licence lapses then there would need to be a new application for both planning permission and pavement licence and this can take weeks as opposed to days. Given sites will need to make the most of any summer trade later this year, making sure pavement licences remain in force will be important to maximise trade when lockdown eventually ends.

For more information contact Lisa Gilligan

The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the present time and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.