Breathing space for boards on renewals

  • Licensees must still lodge renewal application by May 31

LICENSING boards are to be granted extra time to process renewals for personal licences expiring on August 31 – providing licensees have lodged a renewal application with their board by May 31.

Personal licence holders whose licence expires on August 31 must submit a renewal application to their licensing board by May 31.

With just over a week to go until the May 31 deadline for renewal applications, the Scottish Government has stepped in to give boards extra time to determine applications amid fears of a major backlog in processing applications.

As reported in SLTN last week (May 16), figures supplied to SLTN by licensing boards in 26 of the 32 local authority areas show only around a third of PLHs whose licences expire on August 31 had lodged renewal applications.

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The 2005 Licensing Act states that if a board has not determined an application before September 1, that licence will cease to have effect.

However, the Scottish Government has now laid an order before the Scottish Parliament which will extend personal licences expiring on August 31 so long as a renewal application has been made by May 31.

The order will mean that for personal licence renewal applications lodged by May 31 but not determined by the licensing board before September 1, the personal licence will continue to have effect until “28 days after the day on which the board has determined a renewal application made in respect of the licence or February 29, 2020”.

Licensing lawyer Jack Cummins said: “Based on the figures obtained by SLTN, it must have been obvious that this emergency measure was essential. It was utterly unacceptable that an application could be submitted on time but the licence lost because of board resources stretched beyond their limits.

“But let’s not forget this isn’t a complete ‘get out of jail card’.

“Renewals still have to meet the May 31 deadline for licences expiring on August 31 – or it’s still game over.”