Personal Law
September 26, 2018

Christmas events - do you need a temporary licence?

Many people are unaware that you can host a number of activities without needing an official licence. However, for your peace of mind, Paul Reader, Berry & Lamberts Managing Partner and head of dispute resolution breaks down exactly what you need to know so even if you are doing a ‘one-off’ event, you won’t fall foul of the law.

Do you need a licence for a raffle?

In short, no.

However, there are a few rules you’ll need to abide by:

  • All tickets need to be sold at the event and cannot be sold before hand
  • The raffle can’t be the main event; it must be incidental to the Christmas fair.
  • The winner must be announced at the fair.
  • You can’t deduct more than £100 from the proceeds.
  • The prizes can't be worth more than £500; however, this doesn’t include donated gifts.
  • The awards can’t be just money.

If you’re offering alcohol as a prize, you don’t need a licence (providing the alcohol is an unopened bottle).

If you do not comply with these rules then you may need a licence

Are you setting up a market stall?

If you're setting up a market stall on a public street as part of your Christmas fair, you will need to obtain a temporary street trading licence, this is also known as a casual licence. Otherwise, you won't be able to sell your goods. Restrictions can be imposed on where you set up and the size of the stand.

How about hosting entertainment?

If you have entertainment between 8am and 11pm, there is no need for a licence. This extends to live musical performances for audiences of up to 200 people.

However, if you are planning on playing pre-recorded music at your Christmas fair, the venue must have a licence from either the Performing Rights Society or Phonographic Performance Limited and you may also need and entertainment licence.

What about serving alcohol?

If you’re planning on selling alcohol, you will need either a ‘Premises Licence’ which elects a ‘supervisor’ who has permission to sell alcohol, or a ‘Club Premises Certificate’

If you want to sell alcohol at a bar without having either of these licences, you’ll have to apply for temporary event notice (TEN) A TEN can only be applied and given to one person; you can obtain one by filling out the necessary application online and paying a sum of £21. It is best to apply for a temporary licence at least two to three months in advance of your Christmas fair, as this process can be lengthy.

Do you need a licence for selling food?

If you’re a non-profit organisation, you can sell and serve food, providing everything complies with the Food Safety Act. However, a licence is not necessary If it’s a one-off event or you are serving food infrequently or if the food is ‘low risk,’ i.e., packaged goods that need storing at room temperature.

However, if you want to sell higher risk foods, i.e. hot food, then you need to register for a temporary licence with your local Council.

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.

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