The main piece of legislation that controls the sale of alcohol is the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005.
This Act balances the rights of the majority of people who drink responsibly against the need to protect local communities from nuisance and crime associated with misuse of alcohol. It is intended to provide a clear and consistent underpinning for the alcohol licensing regime in Scotland based upon the five licensing objectives:
- preventing crime and disorder
- securing public safety
- preventing public nuisance
- protecting and improving public health, and
- protecting children and young persons from harm.
Further Acts that impact upon the licensing regime in Scotland include:
As well as this primary legislation, the licensing regime in Scotland is also affected by a range of secondary legislation.
Guidance for applicants and Licensing Boards
Applications for alcohol licences and more general queries about licensed premises should be made to your local Licensing Board, which can be found by consulting your local authority website
Scottish Government guidance regarding the alcohol licensing regime:
Minimum Unit Pricing - Guidance for retailers and businesses on the implementation of Minimum unit pricing for alcohol in Scotland is available on the mygov.scot website.
Disabled access and facilities statement for a premises licence: completion guidance – March 2018 – Guidance for applicants for an alcohol premises licence on completing the disabled access and facilities statement required by the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005.
- Modification to the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 Guidance - June 2013 - modification to the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 guidance produced in order to assist Licensing Boards and clerks with the administration of the requirement for personal licence holders to evidence that they have undertaken refresher training.
- Alcohol etc (Scotland) Act 2010 - This guidance was prepared and issued in order to assist with the implementation of the Alcohol etc. (Scotland) Act 2010 with focus on Pricing of alcohol, Drinks promotions, Age verification policy, Licensing policy statements, Chief Constables’ Reports.
- Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 – April 2007 - This guidance has been prepared in accordance with section 142 of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005. This guidance was produced in 2007 to support the implementation of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005. This guidance is currently being reviewed.
Public drinking can often be a nuisance to local communities and can greatly hamper the quality of life for residents in a particular area.
Local authorities have the power to make byelaws to ban drinking in designated public places under provisions contained in the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, subject to confirmation by the Scottish Ministers.
Circular LJ/02/2014 provides advice to local authorities applying to the Scottish Ministers for the confirmation of byelaws prohibiting the consumption of alcohol in designated public places. It replaces the advice contained in circular JD/6/2007 and revises the advice in circular JD/08/2009.
If you are a member of the public and wish to know about alcohol byelaws that are in operation within your area or wish to suggest that an alcohol byelaw should be brought in, please contact your local authority.