Search Legislation

Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001

Closure of unlicensed premises

25.Under section 160 of the Licensing Act 1964, it is an offence to use unlicensed premises for the sale of alcohol, and alcohol on such premises may be confiscated. However, the profits of unlicensed drinking establishments are such that the owners of these premises can often absorb the costs of police raids on them, the seizure of alcohol and the prosecution of staff working in such premises. In practice therefore the premises often re-open quickly having been re-stocked and re-staffed. Such premises are regarded by the police as magnets for criminals who prey on unsuspecting customers, often tourists. The Act provides the police and local authorities with powers to obtain court orders to close down such premises. This would prevent owners from quickly re-stocking and re-opening the premises. The provisions are modelled on provisions contained in the City of Westminster Act 1996 which allows the police and the local authority to close down unlicensed sex establishments.

Placing a positive duty on licensees and the staff of licensed premises not to sell alcohol unless they are reasonably sure of the age of the purchaser

26.Section 169A(2) of the 1964 Act provides a defence to the offence of selling alcohol to a person under eighteen in licensed premises if the defendant had no reason to suspect that the purchaser was under eighteen. In practice it is difficult to secure a conviction where a child looks over the age of eighteen. However, voluntary “proof of age” cards are now widely available, as are other means of establishing age and identity. The Act amends the defence which can be mounted in any prosecution for offences under section 169A of the 1964 Act by requiring a defendant to take all reasonable steps to establish the age of the purchaser.

Back to top


Print Options


Explanatory Notes

Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.


More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources