In clarifying liability for sales of alcohol to under 18s, the Licensing Act 2003 places particular responsibility on owners of alcohol, say Simon Walsh and Elliot Gold

There is public clamour for the prosecution of those who encourage and engage in underage drinking, but anecdotal evidence suggests that such actions are rare. The Licensing Act 2003 contains provisions to criminalise the sale of alcohol to minors, and also creates other criminal offences related to alcohol and those under the age of 18. So how does the specific criminal offence in the 2003 Act of selling alcohol to a minor differ from its predecessor in the Licensing Act 1964? And how can this be used against the various persons who can be involved in the sale of alcohol?

The Licensing Act 1964

Section 169(1) of the 1964 Act stated: “in licensed premises the holder of the licence or his servant shall no...

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