News & Insights: Licensing

Christmas time, licensing laws and beer!

18 December 2023

We are now on the countdown to the busy festive season; a chance to catch up with friends and family and wind down after a busy year.
Christmas opening times for hospitality outlets in Northern Ireland are different to the rest of the year so there’s no better time to look at what these additional Christmas licensing hours are and the process of applying for them.
The Licensing and Registration of Clubs (Amendment) Act (Northern Ireland) 2021 made substantive changes to licensing laws in Northern Ireland, the first in over 25 years and reflected not only a change in the way people socialise but an attempt to assimilate licensing laws in Northern Ireland with the rest of the UK and Ireland.

• Christmas Eve, 24 December: Licensed premises can sell alcohol from 11:30am to 11pm, those with a ‘late licence’ may sell alcohol until midnight. Off-licences may sell alcohol from 8am to 11pm.
• Christmas day, 25 December: Licensed premises may only sell alcohol from 12:30pm to 10pm, even if they hold a late licence. Off-licences are not allowed to sell alcohol at all.
• Boxing Day, 26 December: Licensed premises may sell alcohol from 11:30am to 11pm, and those with a late licence may sell alcohol until 1am, or with further additional permitted hours until 2am. Off-licences may sell alcohol from 8am to 11pm.
• New Year’s Eve, 31 December: Licensed premises may sell alcohol from 11:30am to 11pm, and those with a late licence may sell alcohol until 1am or with further additional permitted hours until 2am. Off-licences may sell alcohol from 8am to 11pm.

If you are planning to open over the festive period, it is imperative that all hospitality businesses know where they stand and can maximise on these recent legislative changes presenting opportunities to trade over an extended time frame and to deliver increased revenues for their business.
The licencing team at O’Reilly Stewart Solicitors led by Seamus McGranaghan understand challenges facing businesses in this heavily regulated area and are ready to advise on these issues and any concerns that clients may have: tel:02890321000 or seamusmcgranaghan@oreillystewart.com
Enjoy the Christmas period and stay safe!

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