The Liquor Licensing Ordinance, 2006 came into effect on 6
February 2006 and replaced the previous Liquor Licensing
Ordinance dating from 1993. The 2006 Ordinance is designed to
place tighter controls over licensees and/or their nominated
designated official, and hence the running of liquor licences
generally. Five categories of licence existed under the 1993
Ordinance and ten categories now exist under the 2006
Ordinance. The categories defined in the 2006 Ordinance are as
Category A, Standard Licence;
Category B, Residential Licence;
Category C, Hotel Licence;
Category D, Club Licence (private members);
Category E, Nightclub Licence;
Category F, Port Licence (on sales);
Category G, Passenger Vessel Licence;
Category H, Casino Licence;
Category I, General Off-Licence; and
Category J, Port Off-Licence (duty-free sales).
With regard to costs in relation to the licences listed above, a
wide range of varying fees pertain to each licence. For
example, a Category A Licence fee is set at £500 and the
Royal Court fee for the application is set at £250. In
addition to this there is a fee for a report compiled for the
Court by the Constables of the parish, which is either £50
or £100. This is dependent upon the category of licence
An individual licensee or a body corporate may hold the
relevant licence. Should a body corporate apply for a licence
it is required to nominate an individual as its designated
official. One area of concern to prospective liquor licence
holders is that the Royal Court is extremely strict in
ensuring that any applicant is seen to be a fit and proper
person to have conduct of the licence. The most
common applications that appear before the Royal Court are for
a change of Licensee or Designated Official. This mainly
occurs because a current licence holder may choose to leave
their employment and/or a restructuring programme of a
A licence application will be heard in the Royal Court before
the Bailiff or his Deputy and at least three Jurats, which
sits on nominated Tuesdays throughout the year. The Ordinance
provides that an applicant notify the following departments of
its intentions at least 28 clear days prior to the court
The Home Department;
The Constables of the parish;
The Environment Department; and
(in the case of a Residential or Hotel Licence) 'Visit
Guernsey' (previously known as the Tourist Board).
Each of the departments listed above will then provide a report
which the Court will require at the hearing. The purpose of
these reports is to assist the Royal Court in making its
decision whether to grant the application. For example,
questions may be raised as to the suitability of the nominated
licensee or designated official for the conduct of the licence
as a result of any one or more of these reports. This does
not preclude the application from proceeding before the Royal
Court. However, the Court does take note of any objection
raised and will no doubt listen carefully to the
In certain applications, the Court will also require
architect's plans of the premises which clearly show the
outline of the licensed premises, bar area, fire exits and, if
applying for an Under 18's Permit, where the under
18's are permitted. The plans will need to be prepared
in accordance with Liquor Licensing Rules. However, should a
licence already be in existence, new plans need not be
There can be confusion as to whether prospective applicants
should apply for an Under 18's Permit in conjunction with
the relevant category. The main crux of the confusion concerns
the definition of a bar. Under the 2006 Ordinance, a bar is
defined as 'including any place exclusively or mainly used
for the sale and consumption of intoxicating liquor'. To
simplify this definition, licensed premises used mainly as a
restaurant or café are not used exclusively or mainly
for the sale and consumption of intoxicating liquor.
Therefore, along with a Standard Category A Licence, a
restaurant or café does not need an Under 18's
Permit. However a public house, or a sports club probably
This article demonstrates some areas which may cause
confusion. There are many more areas in the legislation that
may seem confusing, for example, is there a need to produce
plans? A requirement to publish in La Gazette Officielle? Are
there any extra hidden costs? At Atkinson Ferbrache
Richardson, representatives from our Liquor Licensing team can
fully explain the process and answer any queries you may have
and ensure that your application is dealt with expeditiously
and the whole process runs smoothly.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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