Search This Blog

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Alcohol licensing and under-18s at Connaught Hall bar

This letter was sent to all residents aged under 18. All residents should note that it is also an offence to attempt to purchase alcohol for or on behalf of a person under 18. 

I am writing to you about the bar because you are aged under 18 years, which means that English law prohibits you from purchasing alcoholic drinks, and prohibits others from purchasing alcoholic drinks for you, on licensed premises including the bar here at Connaught Hall.

You are very welcome to use the bar to socialise, play pool, and buy soft drinks, but I must ask you not to attempt to buy alcohol there, nor ask your friends to buy alcohol for you, until you are 18.

The relevant law is the Licensing Act 2003, which includes these provisions:
146 Sale of alcohol to children

(1) A person commits an offence if he sells alcohol to an individual aged under 18. ...

149 Purchase of alcohol by or on behalf of children

(1) An individual aged under 18 commits an offence if — (a) he buys or attempts to buy alcohol, ...

(3) A person commits an offence if — 
(a) he buys or attempts to buy alcohol on behalf of an individual aged under 18, ...

You are committing a criminal offence if you try to buy alcoholic drinks from the bar. Your friends commit an offence if they try to buy alcohol for you. We commit an offence if we allow either sale to take place.

If the bar breaches these rules, it is very likely that it will be closed down – by the police, by the licensing authority, or by the University of London – all of whom have the right to inspect the bar at any time. We have been inspected three times in the last four years: so it really does happen.

Please do not put our bar at risk by attempting to purchase alcohol there. Photographs of all residents aged under 18 have been circulated to the bar staff and Senior Members, and they are very clearly instructed to refuse the sale, which may be embarrassing for both you and them. Regrettably, I must warn you that if you are found drinking alcohol within the bar area, you will be required to leave; a second offence will result in you being banned from the bar and formal disciplinary action being commenced under Schedule 3 of the Intercollegiate Halls Licence Agreement. Similar consequences will ensue if bar staff report to me that they frequently have to refuse you alcohol.

I am sorry to have to write to you so sternly within your first few weeks in Hall – but we have had some problems with underage residents recently when they were refused alcohol at the bar.

There is some good news, though: we will buy you and one friend a drink (bottle of beer or cider, 175mL glass of wine, or single spirit with mixer) on your eighteenth birthday! You simply have to visit the bar on the day of your birthday, with this letter, your passport or driving licence, and your friend.

Thank you for your help and understanding; and I hope you enjoy that drink!