Changes to the Scottish liquor licensing law

Scottish Liquor Licensing Law Update

Challenge 25 – Age verification policy

On 1 October 2011 the majority of the Alcohol etc (Scotland) Act 2010 (the Act) comes into force. This makes significant changes for off-sales operators – however, all holders of Premises or Occasional Licences in Scotland will be affected by a new mandatory condition.

This new condition requires an Age Verification Policy (the Policy) to be in place in relation to the sale of alcohol on the premises.

The Policy requires that steps are taken to establish the age of a person attempting to buy alcohol on the premises (the customer) if it appears to the person selling the alcohol that the customer may be less than 25 years of age (or such older age as the licence holder may wish to set).

The Act provides no guidance as to the wording of any Policy but the licence holder must have a Policy in place. Very useful advice is given in respect of compliance and management at:-

In verifying age, it is reasonable to presume that only the following documents will be satisfactory to comply with the verification policy:-

Passport; or
European Photocard Driving Licence; or
Proof of age card bearing a ‘PASS’ hologram.

If the above documentation is not produced on request then the Policy cannot be complied with and the sale of alcohol should be refused.

The Policy must be in place on or before Saturday 1 October 2011. A failure to comply with this mandatory condition will be a criminal offence in terms of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 which could result in a fine and/or imprisonment. It could also result in a review of the Premises Licence resulting in suspension or revocation of the Licence.

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