Sell alcohol? Is your personal licence in danger?

Is your licence to sell alcohol at risk?

Those authorised to sell alcohol on licensed premises have what is known as a personal licence in terms of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 (“the 2005 Act”).

The 2005 Act sets out requirements for licence holders to comply with to retain their licence and it requires a personal licence holder to undertake refresher training 5 years after the licence was issued.  Unfortunately, despite reminders being issued by the Licensing Board, we understand that a number of personal licence holders may not have complied with this refresher training requirement.  In this case, their personal licence is in serious jeopardy.

It is important to realise that there is not a single date by which this refresher training must be completed.  All personal licence holders secured their personal licence at different times therefore their refresher training is linked to the grant of the licence.  This is an ongoing issue for all personal licence holders, the key date is to complete the training within 5 years of securing their own licence.

Those who received their personal licence as soon as the 2005 Act came into force on 1 September 2009 were required to complete their refresher training by 30 August 2014 and to notify the Licensing Board that they had passed this training before 1 December 2014.  If either of those deadlines have been missed, the Licensing Board has no option but to revoke the personal licence.  There is no opportunity to appeal.  Furthermore, if the licence is revoked, you are banned from re-applying for another personal licence for 5 years.

As this time of year the impact of the loss of a personal licence can have fairly substantial consequences for the individual and also the licensed premise.  The person who loses their personal licence may be the designated Premises Manager, may require their licence as part of their job, etc.

Some boards have taken a pragmatic approach and allowed people to surrender their licence to avoid the forced revocation and 5 year ban and others have simply revoked all affected licences instantly.

Early indications suggest that, potentially, around 7,000 – 10,000 personal licence holders in Scotland are already affected by this legislation.  As there is a rolling requirement depending upon when your licence was issued, this number will only continue to increase.

As with all cases each and every circumstance is different, however, if you think you may be affected by this, or have any other licensing queries, then please do not hesitate to contact me.


This Briefing has been produced for information purposes only and is based on the law and other information available at the time of writing.  We cannot be held responsible for any losses incurred through acting or failing to act on the basis of anything contained in this Briefing. 

If you require advice on any of the matters referred to, please contact us so that we can advise you, taking account of your own particular circumstances and requirements.

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