The Entertainment and Sports Law Journal is to publish a special issue on Entertainment and Alcohol Licensing Law and the Night time Economy in Spring 2019. I am the guest editor of this issue. We would like to receive abstracts (200 words – send to D.MacSithigh@qub.ac.uk cc email@example.com) by 14 October 2018, and will respond to proposals by 24 October; the final deadline will be 23 January 2019.
Fifteen years on from the landmark Licensing Act 2003 in England and Wales, what are the key issues, in terms of law, business, culture, and policing, that require further research?
The intervening years have seen sustained Parliamentary interest in the impact of 2003’s changes. The Live Music Act 2012 and the sexual entertainment provisions of the Policing and Crime Act 2009 amended the Act – the former to dispense with licensing requirements in some situations, and the latter to require a special licence, assessed under different criteria. ‘Deregulation’ has been applied to various forms of entertainment, including certain circuses, performances, community events, and film showings. Other legislation and policy initiatives now attempt to regulate related aspects of urban life and the night time economy, through public spaces protection orders, and schemes such as Local Alcohol Action Areas. A House of Lords committee offered broad criticisms of the 2003 Act in a 2017 report, and proposed widescale reforms including the use of the procedures of planning law and the way in which enforcement is funded. Home Office guidance has proven influential, though local authorities also have a significant role to play. The courts have played a role, too – especially in challenges to local authority decisions on procedural impropriety grounds, though the impact of EU law on the provision of services has also started to emerge.
Although the 2003 Act repealed older legislation (including some historic distinctions between London and elsewhere), distinctive systems are still in place outwith England and Wales. Major reforms to alcohol licensing in Scotland came about in 2005, though were subsequently revisited in 2009 and 2015. Entertainment licensing still remains within the scope of older legislation, though again with certain changes made of late. The patchwork of rules applying in Northern Ireland were reviewed by its Department of the Environment in 2015, though not yet implemented.
The cultural and commercial impact of entertainment and alcohol licensing schemes (statutory or otherwise) is clear. Whether it be concerns about the singling out of particular genres, the regulation of informal performances, or the degree to which moral or economic concerns inform decision-making, the interpretation of statutory provisions by local authorities and courts is closely watched by licence holders, community groups, and those in affected sectors (e.g. music, dance, hospitality). In the case of alcohol, there has been ongoing political and academic interest in topics such as promotions, pricing, over provision, and voluntary schemes relating to disorder and responsible trading. ’24-hour opening’ was a flagship component of the 2003 Act, though it too has been reconsidered on a number of occasions.
We welcome papers in these or related areas, including case studies, comparative approaches, and empirical analyses. Internationally comparative material is welcome but contributors should be aware of that the focus of the issue will be on the UK. Authors should engage with the role of legal stipulations and procedures, though interdisciplinary research and perspectives from other disciplines are certainly appropriate. Article types include the following:
- Research Articles (up to 8,000 words)
- Interventions (up to 4,000 words)
- Commentaries up to 4,000 words
- Reviews approximately 2,000 words.