The Live Music Forum

Hamish Birchall Bulletin


Friday 15th December 2006 - What law do you want scrapped? Tell BBC R4 Today

BBC Radio 4 Today wants to know what law you think should be scrapped:

It asks you to be specific. Most of the Licensing Act 2003 is about regulating the sale of alcohol. You might want the whole Act scrapped - but you may want to focus on the live music provisions, most of which are set out in Schedule 1, which describes 'regulated entertainment':

The main injustice, for me at least, remains the inexplicable inequality of treatment of live and canned entertainment in the context of the crime/disorder/safety/noise rationale of the Act.  Anyone organising even the mildest live music without a licence under the Act could face criminal prosecution - but no such licence is required if providing big screen sport or music in a crowded bar.

Live music e-petition well into top 50 Signatures are rising at a rate of knots. As I write, the number of signatures is passing 900 , and the petition is now at number 35 in the list of over 1,100 petitions on the Number 10 website:

Live music penalties - comparison with other offences - correction A lawyer told me yesterday that some of the offences I listed in my circular urging people to sign the e-petition do in fact carry greater maximum penalties than the maximum penalty under the Licensing Act (a £20,000 fine and six months in prison). I am now seeking clarification from the lawyer who first provided me with that list in response to this question:

'Under the Act, the maximum penalty for anyone found guilty of providing unlicensed live music where a licence is required is £20,000 and six months in prison. Would you mind listing a few other crimes which would be generally perceived as far worse, but for which the penalties are not as severe?'

I will circulate an update on this as soon as I have clarified the position.  In the meantime, my apologies for any inaccuracies in that first list and if it was in any way misleading. However, it does not change the position for the unlicensed provision of live music. Where a licence is required, under the Licensing Act the maximum penalty is a £20,000 fine and six months in prison.

Hamish Birchall