Club Premises Certificates

What is a club premises certificate?

Under the Licensing Act 2003 Club Premises Certificates replace the existing system of Club Registration Certificates.

The Act continues the recognition given by earlier licensing laws that premises to which public access is restricted and where alcohol is supplied other than for profit, give rise to different issues than those presented by commercial enterprises selling direct to the public.

There are therefore special provisions for members clubs. These clubs are organisations where members have joined together for particular social, sporting or political purposes and then combined to buy alcohol in bulk as members of the organisation for supply in that context. They commonly include Labour, Conservative and Liberal Clubs, the Royal British Legion, other ex-services clubs, working men's clubs, miners welfare institutions, social and sports clubs. These types of members clubs should not be confused with proprietary clubs, which are clubs run commercially by individuals, partnerships or businesses for the purposes of profit. Proprietary clubs are not eligible to apply for a club premises certificate but must apply for an ordinary premises licence instead.

What are the advantages of a club premises certificate?

Whilst members clubs can if they so wish apply for an ordinary premises licence there are certain advantages in being granted a club premises certificate. These include:

  • alcohol can be supplied to members and sold to guests on the club premises without the need for any member or employee to hold a personal licence

  • there is no need to specify a designated premises supervisor

  • there are more limited rights of entry for the police and authorised persons because the premises are considered private and not generally open to the public

  • the club premises are not subject to police powers of instant closure on grounds of disorder and noise nuisance

  • the club premises are not subject to orders of the magistrate's court for the closure of all licensed premises in an area when disorder is happening or expected

Who can apply?

An application for a club premises certificate may be made by any qualifying club for any premises which are occupied by and habitually used for the purposes of the club.

There are five general conditions which must be fulfilled to enable a club to qualify for a club premises certificate. They are:

  1. Under the rules of the club no one may be admitted to membership or admitted for any of the privileges of membership until two days have elapsed between their application and membership itself. 

  2. The club rules must prevent anyone who becomes a member without initial application or nomination from enjoying the privileges of membership until two days after their becoming members.

  3. The club must be established and conducted in good faith (see below). 

  4. The club must have at least 25 members - should club membership drop below this magic number, a period of three months grace is allowed for the club to try and recruit new members, otherwise it would lose its club premises certificate. 

  5. Alcohol can only be supplied on the premises to members by or on behalf of the club.

If a club intends to supply alcohol to members or guests there are three additional conditions:

  1. That the purchase and supply of alcohol on behalf of a club must be managed by an elected committee of adult club members.

  2. That no one involved in the purchase of the alcohol should receive any commission at the expense of the club.

  3. That nobody involved in the supply of alcohol should receive any monetary benefit from the supply of alcohol by the club to its members and guests. Nothing in this prevents the bar steward of a club from receiving a bonus for overall performance if his contract so allows, although this would not be possible if the steward was also a member of the club.

To decide whether or not a club is established and conducted in good faith (see above) the following factors must be taken into account:

  • any arrangements restricting the club's free purchase of alcohol

  • how money or property belonging to the club is used; permitted uses include charitable, political or benevolent purposes, or for the general benefit of the club

  • the way in which members obtain information about the club's finances

  • the account books and other records of the club's finances

  • the nature of the club premises.

How do clubs apply?

You can apply online through the GOV.UK website.

Apply by post 

In order to apply for a club premises certificate, the club must submit a club premises application pack or application to vary a club premises certificate to:

Licensing Officer (Alcohol & Entertainment)
Ribble Valley Borough Council
Council Offices
Church Walk
BB7 2RA.

You must also send copies to the Responsible Authorities and advertise the application both on the premises and in the local press. 

How will the application be determined?

If there are no objections or representations from either a Responsible Authority or any other person, the application must be granted and there will be no hearing. If a relevant objection or representation is made there will be a hearing (unless all parties have agreed this is not necessary). The club will be entitled to attend the hearing and make representations.

What form will the certificate take?

The certificate will include the following information:

  • the name and registered address of the club

  • the address of the premises to which the certificate relates

  • a plan of the premises

  • the qualifying club activities authorised by the certificate

  • where the certificate is time limited the dates for which it is to have effect

  • the times the certificate authorises the carrying out of qualifying club activities

  • the opening hours of the club

  • where the certificate authorises supplies of alcohol whether these are on and/or off supplies

  • any conditions to which the certificate is subject

The secretary of the club must secure that the certificate or a certified copy of it is kept at the premises to which it relates and that a nominated person is responsible for it. The person must be nominated by the secretary and must be either:

  • the secretary

  • any member of the club

  • someone working at and employed by the club

The licensing authority must be notified of the identity of the nominated person. The nominated person must ensure that both:

  • a summary of the certificate (in a prescribed form)

  • a notice stating the position that the nominated person holds at the club

are clearly displayed at the club.

How long will the certificate last?

A club premises certificate unless granted only for a limited period remains in force until it is surrendered or revoked. Although the certificate is not subject to annual renewal the club has to pay an annual charge to the licensing authority (see note on fees).