Select Committee on Deregulation and Regulatory Reform First Report

Appendix 5

Letter to the Clerk of the Deregulation and Regulatory Reform Committee from the Magistrates Association (dated 17 September 2001)

Proposal for the Regulatory Reform (Special Occasions Licensing) Order 2001

Thank you for your letter of 19 July inviting comment on the above Regulatory Reform proposal, which was considered at a meeting of the Magistrates' Association Licensing Committee on 13 September.

The Magistrates' Association is in support of the proposed relaxation. Most Licensing Committees expected the Regulatory Reform Order to be in force by now and are disappointed that once again the Order might fail. Nevertheless many Committees have drawn up their New Year's Eve extension policies in accordance with the Good Practice Guide at Brewster Sessions held in February.

The Magistrates' Association and Justices' Clerks' Society have recently published a joint statement suggesting that Licensing Committees should routinely follow the Good Practice Guide, namely an extension of hours until 12.30 am on 1st January. The statement advises that "where specific applications are made for longer hours, each case should be treated on its own merits but urges justices to consider granting such applications unless objections have been raised, or there is a real fear of disturbance to local residents or the fear of public disorder".

The Magistrates' Association would be in support of the Order becoming law at a later date and acknowledges that this would not be before early to mid-December. Licensing justices would be willing and able at that time to take on extra sittings if necessary to deal with any increase in applications for restriction orders.

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