Licensing Board FAQs

The Licensing Board (The Board) is not a committee of Aberdeen City Council. It is a separate legal entity, although it is comprised of nine elected members, representing all the elected Council parties.  It is a non-political quasi-judicial body that can only act within the realms of the legislation and its Statement of Licensing Policy. 

The Board is the body tasked with regulating the sale of alcohol in terms of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 as well as gambling in terms of the Gambling Act 2005.

An Occasional Licence is a temporary licence which lasts no more than 14 days and permits alcohol to be sold on otherwise unlicensed premises.

Details of an application for an Occasional Licence are provided to Police Scotland and the Licensing Standards Officer (LSO) for their comments. In normal circumstances they require to make any representations within 21 days, but in the current climate have agreed to do so within 7 days.

 An advertisement is also placed on the Board’s website for 7 days which details the last date by which any representations must be made in relation to the application.
If no representations are made the legislation states that the application must be granted, the Board does not have any discretion.

If representations are received that cannot be resolved, then the matter will be referred to the Board for determination.

The grounds for refusal are: 

  • (a)  that the premises to which the application relates are excluded premises,
  • (b)  that the application must be refused because 
    • (i) it would exceed the maximum number of applications which may be made by a voluntary organisation,
    • (ii)  it seeks licensed hours for a continuous 24-hour period or more, or 
    • (iii) it seeks off-sale hours prior to 10am or after 10pm
  • (c)  that the Licensing Board considers the granting of the application would be inconsistent with one or more of the licensing objectives,
  • (d)  that, having regard to:
    • (i)  the nature of the activities proposed to be carried on in the premises to which the application relates,
    • (ii)  the location, character and condition of the premises, and
    • (iii)  the persons likely to frequent the premises, the Board considers that the premises are unsuitable for use for the sale of alcohol.


The Licensing Objectives are set by the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 and are concerned only with the sale of alcohol. They are:

  • Preventing Crime and Disorder
  • Securing Public Safety
  • Preventing Public Nuisance
  • Protecting and Improving Public Health
  • Protecting Children and Young Persons from Harm

The Board will provide the applicant with a copy of the objection or representation and ask for a response. If the applicant agrees to amend the application in a manner which satisfies the person making the objection or representation, then that objection or representation is withdrawn, and the application is treated as having received no objection or representation.

If, however common ground cannot be reached, then the objection or representation will be placed before the Board along with the applicant’s response.

An objection or representation must be based on the grounds for refusal detailed above and must relate to the sale of alcohol. A Board may reject a notice of objection or representation if the objection or representation is frivolous or vexatious.

This is determined by the Scheme of Delegation which forms part of the Board’s Statement of Licensing Policy.

The application must be granted if there are no objections or representations, or if those have been resolved and withdrawn. Accordingly, this is done by officers under delegated powers.  

If any objections or representations are received and cannot be resolved the decision is delegated to a Sub-Committee of the Board of at least 3 Members. The Sub-Committee will consider the application along with any objection or representation and the response from the applicant in order to first determine whether the application requires a hearing. If the Sub-Committee decides the application does not require a hearing, then the application will be determined based on the written submissions.

If the Sub-Committee consider a hearing to be required the matter will be referred to a meeting of the Board at the earliest opportunity. All parties will be invited to attend the hearing.

In both cases, the Board or Sub-Committee are required to consider whether any of the grounds for refusal apply. If, in the Board or Sub-Committee’s opinion, none of the grounds apply the application must be granted. If any of the grounds apply in the opinion of the Board or Sub-Committee then the application must be refused.

If the application is granted, additional conditions may be added if considered necessary for the purposes of any of the licensing objectives.

For advice or to submit an application, contact the Licensing team

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