The Permanent Guide to Temporary Events Notices

Published: 16 February 2013

It should be relatively simple to get a TEN, but the application process is paved with pitfalls.  Maria Guida,Partner and Head of Licensing explains the problems which range from not giving enough notice, service on the wrong parties and misunderstanding the rules on late applications.

Temporary event notices (TENs) are a way of obtaining permission for small, occasional events, which can be held anywhere from a village hall to an open space, where licensable activities are not normally permitted.  They can also be used by venues that already hold a premises licence. 

TENs can be used to:

  • close your venue later or open your venue earlier than usual
  • authorise a licensable activity, such as music and dancing, that is not on your premises licence
  • sell alcohol where there is no licence
  • carry out a licensable activity that is not permitted on your premises licence due to a condition, such as serving alcohol without a table meal. 

Any personal licence holder can give 50 TENs a year.  A non personal licence holder can only give 5.

TENs can last for a maximum of 7 days (168 hours).  A premises is allowed to hold up to 12 TENs in any one calendar year.  These events can cover over a total of 21 days in any calendar year.  TENs are limited to a capacity of 499 people. 

When making an application for a TEN the local authority, the police service and the environmental health service need to be notified. Only the police or environmental health can object and this must be on one of the 4 licensing grounds (crime and disorder and public nuisance being the most common grounds used to refuse a TEN).  If no objections are made by either the police or environmental health services, then the event can proceed.

It is important to be very accurate and when stating the dates and times that your event is to cover.  Remember that if your licence permits you to open until midnight on Fridays, but you want to stay open later for a certain event, until 4.00am; then your TEN application is in relation to the Saturday, not the Friday.

It is equally important to give sufficient notice to the relevant authorities.  Normally, this is 10 clear working days’ notice and this does not include the date upon which the application is received by the local authority, nor the date that the event is to start.  People often get this wrong, simply by failing to observe the "day either side" rule.  It is also important to remember that a bank holiday is not counted as a working day.

Luckily, the Licensing Act 2003 now permits late applications, although the Home Office guidance issued states that these later TENs are only intended to be used in exceptional circumstances only. An example would be where, premises have had to, for reasons beyond their control, change the venue for the event at short notice.  Late TENs are limited to 5 a year for personal licence holders and 2 for non-personal licence holders. Do not expect too much leeway, however, as between 5 and 9 clear working days’ notice still needs to be given.

To appeal a refusal of a TEN you need to apply to the licensing committee at least 5 clear working days prior to the planned event. Since the authorities have all of the 10 working days in which to refuse the TEN, this is often difficult (if not impossible) to achieve, especially if you only give the minimum notice required when making the application.

It should also be remembered that if a late TEN application is refused, you do not have the chance to appeal this in front of the licensing committee, as you would have with a normal TEN application.  In order to have any chance of succeeding before the licensing committee, the application must show that you are not undermining any of the licensing objectives (i.e.  the prevention of crime and disorder, protection of children from harm, public safety and the prevention of public nuisance). 

All in all, Temporary Events Notices look simple, but they are not.  It is straightforward however to instruct us to make an application on your behalf, by clicking here.  if you wish to ask us any question about licensing law or issues that you are having with your (or someone else's) licensed premises, please click here.

For further advice and assistance please contact Maria Guida, Licensing partner at Fletcher Day LLP, Solicitors by email at maria@fletcherday.co.uk or telephone, 0207 632 1432.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.