Penalties for illegal sales is test for Act

THE sanctions dispensed by boards to businesses that fail test purchases and are caught selling alcohol to underage persons is another hot topic in Scottish licensing at present.

Solicitors acknowledge there is inconsistency in the way transgressions are penalised across the country.
One said this might be down to the way failures are reported by the police, another argued that some boards are too quick to impose sanctions and don’t take genuinely mitigating factors into account.
But, while it has been argued by one licensees’ group that the sanctions handed down should be more uniform across the country, amid claims supermarkets aren’t being treated as harshly as independents, lawyers insist each case should always be considered on their own merits.
Beyond the issue of sanctions, another is concerned that “short suspensions make it very difficult to challenge a board’s decision, particularly for smaller operators who do not have the funds or resources to get an appeal into court very quickly, as happened in the Tesco/Midlothian case”.