Liquor - Premises Licensing

Licencing Summary

If you wish to sell alcohol, your premises must be licensed.

Applications are made to your local licensing board.

You must be 18 years or older to make the application which must include a description of the premises, an operating plan, a layout plan of the premises, and certificates for planning, building standards and, if relevant, food hygiene.

Your premises will also require a premises manager who holds a personal licence to sell and authorise the sale of alcohol.

Conditions will be attached to a licence.

Eligibility Criteria

Any person, other than an individual under the age of 18, may apply to the appropriate Licensing Board for a premises licence in respect of any premises.

Regulation Summary

Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005

Applications must contain a description of the premises and be accompanied by an operating plan, a layout plan, a planning certificate, a building standards certificate and where food is to be served, a food hygiene certificate.

An operating plan will detail the following:

  • a description of the activities to be carried on in the premises
  • the times when alcohol will be sold
  • a statement as to whether alcohol is to be sold for consumption on the premises, off the premises or both
  • a statement of times at which any activities other than the sale of alcohol will be carried out
  • where alcohol is to be sold on the premises a statement detailing whether children or young people will be allow on the premises and if so details of the ages of children and young persons to be allowed entry, the times at which they are allowed entry and the parts of the premises they are allowed entry 
  • the capacity of the premises
  • specific information about the premises manager
  • any other information required

The licensing board will give notice of the application, together with a copy of it, to the following:

  • every person who has a notifiable interest in the land neighbouring the premises
  • any community council for the area the premises is situated
  • the council for the area the premises is situated, unless the council are the applicant
  • the chief constable for the area
  • the Fire Authority

Application Evaluation Process

The chief constable must give a notice that the applicant or any connected  persons have not been convicted a relevant or foreign offence and detailing any convictions and a report detailing all cases of antisocial behaviour that have taken place on or around the premises and all complaints and other representations concerning antisocial behaviour within the previous year.

A Licensing Board must consider any notices it receives relating to representations or objections and serve a copy of the notice on the applicant.

A hearing must be held to determine the application. If any of the grounds for refusal apply the application must be refused.

 The following are grounds for refusal:

  • the premises are excluded premises;
  • there are no exceptional circumstances for allowing the sale of alcohol on the premises during a continuous period of  24 hours or more;
  • the application requests the sale of alcohol for consumption off the premises before 10.00, after 22.00 or both on any day;
  • the applicant has had another application refused within the last 12 months;
  • the granting of the application would be inconsistent with one or more of the licensing objectives;
  • Having regard to: the nature of the activities proposed, the location, character and condition of the premises and the types of people likely to visit the premises, it is decided that the premises are unsuitable for use for the sale of alcohol; and
  • that having regard to the number and capacity of (i) licensed premises, or (ii) licensed premises of the same or similar description as the subject premises, in the locality in which the subject premises are situated, the Board considers that, if the application was granted there would be over provision of licensed premises or licensed premises of that description in the vicinity.

If it is felt that an application would be allowed with a modification to the operating plan and the applicant accepts the modification, the licence must be granted.

If the application is refused the Licensing Board must give reasons for the refusal.

If an applicant or a connected person is convicted of an offence after the date the application was submitted but before it is determined they must notify the Licensing Board. If such information is received a Licensing Board must suspend the application and give notice to the chief constable of the conviction. The chief constable must respond by way of a notice within 21 days as to whether the conviction can be confirmed and if so if it is a relevant or foreign offence.

Will Tacit Consent Apply?

No. It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from the local authority within a reasonable period, please contact it. You can do this online if you applied through the UK Welcomes service or use the contact details below.

Failed Application Redress

Appeals can only be made under one of the following grounds:

(a) that, in reaching the decision, the Licensing Board -

  1. erred in law
  2. based their decision on an incorrect material fact
  3. acted contrary to natural justice
  4. used their discretion in an unreasonable manner or

(b) where the decision is to take any of the steps mentioned below, that the step taken is disproportionate in all the circumstances.

Those steps are

(a) at a review hearing in respect of a premises licence -

  1. issuing a written warning
  2. revoking or suspending the licence, or
  3. making a variation of the licence , or

(b) making an order revoking, suspending or endorsing a personal licence.

Consumer Complaint

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you - preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked, if you are located in the UK,  Citizens Advice Consumer Service (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Other Redress

Any person may apply to the Licensing Board for a review of the licence. Grounds for review are that one or more of the conditions have been breached or for any other ground relevant to one or more the licensing objectives. A hearing must be held in relation to the application.


If felt necessary a chief constable can recommend that the application is refused on the grounds that any criminal conviction could be cause to refuse the application for the purposes of crime prevention objectives. This must be served by way of a notice with 21 days of receiving notice from the Licensing Authority. A chief constable can only object if they suspect that the applicant or any connected person may be involved in serious organised crime.

Any person may object to an application or make representations in support of an application, modifications to application or conditions to be added to a licence, by way of a notice to the Licensing Board.

Trade Associations

Scottish Food and Drink Federation

Further Information

Liquor Licensing at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar


Licensing Standards Officer