Select Committee on Deregulation and Regulatory Reform Seventh Report


The Deregulation and Regulatory Reform Committee has agreed to the following Report:




1. On 26th February 2002 the Government laid before Parliament the draft Regulatory Reform (Golden Jubilee Licensing) Order 2002, together with an explanatory memorandum from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.[1] We have already reported on the Government's proposal for this draft Order, which would amend the Regulatory Reform (Special Occasions Licensing) Order 2001 ("the Special Occasions Order")[2] to permit licensing hours to be extended for a further two hours after the end of permitted hours on 3 June 2002, the date of the celebration of the Queen's Golden Jubilee.[3]

2. As noted in our Report on the proposal for this Order, in nearly all respects relevant to consideration of the proposal in the light of the criteria set down in Standing Order 141(6), the proposed extension of licensing hours on this occasion gives rise to no issues not already considered in the context of the proposals for the Special Occasions Order and, before that, the Deregulation (Millennium Licensing) Order 1999.[4] However, there were two issues outstanding following our consideration of the proposal for the Order.

3. The first issue was that of the timing of the Order. Our earlier recommendation of the approval of the Special Occasions Order had been made only following assurances from the Department that there would be time for the system of restriction orders, which would ensure the protection of local residents against excessive noise or nuisance, to operate as intended. However, it transpired that, in at least three licensing districts, the licensing authority's final session before New Year took place too soon after the Order came into force for it to be possible for applications for restriction orders to be made. It was not therefore possible for local residents - or, for that matter, local authorities or police forces - to make use of the provisions designed to ensure that necessary protection was maintained. As the same provisions would apply in respect of the proposed extended hours at the Golden Jubilee, we made it clear that, before recommending approval of this draft Order, we would be looking for assurances - backed up with details of timetables for the making of the Order and relevant sessions of licensing justices - that the same situation would not arise.

4. Rather than provide us with detailed timetables for sittings of licensing justices, however, the Department has elected instead to make amendments to the draft Order itself. Following discussions with a number of chief executives to licensing justices, the Order now provides that the licensing justices may hear applications for restriction orders whether or not licensing sessions are taking place in that district. The licensing justices would thus be free to hear an application at any time after the required 5 days notice had expired. If the draft Order is made, no police officer, local authority or local resident should therefore be denied an opportunity to make an application for a restriction order regardless of when licensing sessions are scheduled to be heard in that licensing district. This appears to us to represent an appropriate solution to any problem of timing.

5. The Department has also given details of the "publicity strategy" which it intends to follow in order to ensure that anyone likely to be affected by the extended opening hours during the Golden Jubilee period will be aware of the possibility of applying for a restriction order and of the procedures to be followed in order to do so.[5]

6. The other issue outstanding was that relating to the drafting of the Order. The provisions relating to appeals have been re-ordered as recommended in our Report on the proposal.[6]

7. No representations on the proposal other than the Reports of the Parliamentary Committees were received by the Department.[7]

8. We are satisfied that our concerns regarding the proposed Order have been met. We therefore recommend unanimously that it be approved.

1   Copies are available to Members from the Vote Office and to members of the public from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. It is also available on the Cabinet Office website http://www.cabinet­ proposals.htm. Back

2   SI 2001/3937. Back

3   Fifth Report, Session 2001-02 (HC 599). Back

4   See First and Second Reports from the Deregulation and Regulatory Reform Committee, Session 2001-02 (HC 265 and HC 388), and Third and Fourth Reports from the Deregulation Committee, Session 1998-99 (HC 532 and HC 710). Back

5   Explanatory memorandum, para 9. Back

6   Fifth Report, op cit, para 30. Back

7   Explanatory memorandum, para 3. Back

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