NORA members have been circulated with the final draft of the proposed revision of Chapter 15 of the Guidance to the 2003 Licensing Act as a result of the expected
implementation of the 2012 Live Music Act. Members have raised three issues.
The first relates to the holding of Private Parties covered by paragraph 15.3. It is clear that private events held on a private dwelling only become licensable
if those attending are charged in order to produce a profit either for the host or the organiser. It is not clear whether private parties held on licensed premises
are licensable and therefore subject to the conditions and exemptions governing the licensed premises. The original paragraph in the current Guidance - 15.11 - tries
to deal with this aspect, but it leaves the question open to interpretation. NORA members are concerned that the proposed paragraph 15.3 does not cover this aspect,
so that it is not clear under what circumstances private parties held on licensed premises are licensable, and even if non-licensable whether they are subject to the
conditions and exemptions governing the licensed premises. NORA members are concerned that licensees might provide facilities for private parties without any restrictions
in terms of promoting the prevention of public nuisance.
On the basis that private events on licensed premises can be non-licensable, can NORA suggest the following amendment to the paragraph 15.3 derived
from the helpful paragraph 15.11 of the current Guidance?
A private event for invited guests held in a hired private room with a live band and dancing and no charge for admission intended to make a profit is not a
regulated entertainment unless the person who hires out the room - the owner of the house or licensed premises in which the room is situated - is also
involved in the organisation or management of the entertainment. If this comprises, for example, hiring a dance floor, providing sound equipment and/or
smoke machine along with the room, or by arranging for a DJ or band to play at the event, the event becomes licensable. It then becomes subject to the
conditions and exemptions applicable to the premises licence
Secondly, there is no clear definition of 'unamplified live music' either in the current Chapter 15 or in the proposed revision. Since barristers regard
electronic music, such as electric guitars, keyboards and drum machines, as amplified music, it would be wise and helpful to include this in a definition,
which could be added to paragraph 15.8.
"Unamplified live music" does not include live electronic music such as electric guitars, keyboards and drum machines.
Finally, karaoke is listed in paragraph 15.4 of the current Guidance as an 'entertainment facility', but it is not mentioned in the revised Chapter 15.
Since it can be the main source of noise-nuisance problems from 'entertainment facilities' should this item not be included in 15.14 in order that, where appropriate,
conditions could apply to karaoke machines as follows?
So, in relation to the provision of entertainment facilities it might, for example, be possible in certain circumstances to limit the use or volume of a microphone or
karaoke machine made available for customers to sing, if customers who have purchased alcohol for consumption on the premises have caused a problem by become
louder and less aware of potential noise nuisance later in the evening.
Alan B Shrank - NORA chairman