The Institute of Licensing (IoL), the professional body for licensing practitioners across the UK, has issued a document detailing the protocol for licence applications and hearings under the Licensing Act 2003 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This document is regularly updated and the current version can be found here.

The Protocol takes into account the closure of premises, restrictions on freedom of movement and social distancing requirements.  It promotes the continuation of the licensing system using alternative means of processing applications, encouraging compromise, and conducting hearings using remote technology.

IoL Chairman Daniel Davies said: ‘The current pandemic and necessary restrictions on business and individuals have had an enormous impact in all areas.  In particular, licensed businesses face an existential threat and must be able to innovate and look at new ways to conduct business.  At the same time, the licensing objectives within the Licensing Act 2003 must be promoted and safeguarded. Local authorities also face very significant challenges in keeping the licensing system going. It is essential that the licensing system continues to work, and works well.  The Institute of Licensing’s Protocol is designed to inform and assist licensing authorities and operators in managing, and using, the licensing system effectively and fairly during these extraordinary times.’