Liquor licences could soon be granted by a new States-appointed Licensing Authority.
The new Licensing Authority will replace the Court and assess licences against published criteria.
Politicians and laymen will be part of the Licensing Authority which will be similar to the Planning Committee but chaired to a non-States member. An Alcohol and Licensing Policy Group will also be created to oversee the operation of the law and licensing policy generally.
The new law also sets outs five statutory licensing objectives as points of reference for those charged with setting and implementing the licensing policy. The objectives concern the reduction of alcohol-related crime and disorder, public safety, prevention of public nuisance, protection of children from alcohol related harm and improvement of public health.
The report accompanying the law says: "In setting these objectives, the States will not be ignoring the valued role that businesses operated by responsible liquor licence holders play in the Island’s economy. New and existing businesses that refrain from trading in a manner that runs counter to these five licensing objectives will continue to be supported."
The recently lodged law is the first of three pieces of work intended to modernise and improve the management of alcohol licences in the Island. Subordinate regulations that will outline the different types of licence and set the detailed rules for operation of the licensed sector will soon be developed. A ‘Statement of Licensing Policy’ which will offer the public and the industry a detailed policy framework for the licensed trade for the first time will also be produced.
The regulations and Statement of Licensing Policy set out the approach to be taken by the Licensing Authority to new licences, the treatment of existing licences and general conditions that apply either to the industry as a whole or to specific areas of concern. All of this should be completed In 2018, after a full public consultation is conducted and input from the Economic Affairs Scrutiny Panel is received.
The whole project has been developed by a working group called the Shadow Alcohol and Licensing Policy Group (SALPG), which counts as members Assistant Chief Minister Paul Routier, Assistant EDTSC Minister Steve Pallett, Health and Social Services Minister Senator Andrew Green, Home Affairs Minister Deputy Kristina Moore and constables Simon Crowcroft and Michel Le Troquer.
Senator Paul Routier, chair of the SALPG, said: “The law is the first step in a project that will allow Jersey to have an open and honest conversation about our relationship with alcohol. The public and industry stakeholders will be able to clearly see the policy that underlies the licensing system for the first time, and it will be democratically debated.”
Connétable Steve Pallett said: “We will be engaging with stakeholders and States Members over the coming weeks to ensure that the proposed licensing framework is well understood. The Island has waited for two decades for a modern, flexible and easier to use system for licensing all establishments that sell alcohol. We remain committed to working with all interested parties as we move to consider the necessary regulations and the initial Statement of Licensing Policy that will determine how applications will be considered in future.”
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