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Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001

Section 19: Closure notices

63.Subsections (1)-(2) empower a constable or a local authority to serve a “closure notice” on any premises where they are satisfied that the premises are being, or within the last 24 hours have been, used for the sale of alcohol for consumption on or in the vicinity of the premises without a liquor licence in contravention of section 160 of the Licensing Act 1964.

64.Subsections (3)-(5) specify the people on whom a closure notice must or may be served. Subsection (3) provides that a notice must be served on a person who has control of, or responsibility for, the unlawful activities conducted on the premises. In many cases, it is impossible for the police or local authority to trace the owner of the premises involved. The intention is therefore to ensure that action could still be initiated despite the absence of the owner who, for example, might reside abroad. Subsection (4) also requires the police or the local authority to serve the notice on any occupier of any part of the premises whose access may be impeded if the part involved in the unlicensed sale of alcohol was to be closed. This is to ensure that any innocent person residing in the premises may be a party to any court proceedings under these provisions and have a right to challenge any action taken to close the premises. Subsection (5) provides that a closure notice can also be served on any other person having control of or an interest in the premises. This includes any owner, leaseholder or occupier of the premises.

65.Subsection (6)(a)-(c) requires that a closure notice must contain details of the circumstances in which the premises are said to have been used for the unlawful sale of alcohol; the powers of the police and local authority to seek a closure order from the courts in respect of the premises concerned; and the steps which may be taken to end or prevent a recurrence of the alleged illegal use of the premises (e.g. to close or to stop the sale of alcohol).

66.Subsections (7)-(9) empowers a constable or the local authority to withdraw a closure notice by serving another document to that effect on everyone who had previously been served with a closure notice. The police or local authority might be minded to use such a power where voluntary steps to end the unlawful sale of alcohol had been taken quickly before any further enforcement action was taken.

67.Subsection (10)(a)-(d) describes who should be regarded as being a person “having control of” or “responsibility for” the premises where the offence of selling alcohol without a liquor licence is occurring. This includes any person seeking to derive profit from or managing the activities; or any person employing people to manage such activities; or any person involved in any way in the conduct of the activities.

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