A Guide to the Trading Standards Law applying at Licensed Premises

This guide explains the main Trading Standards requirements that apply at licensed premises.

If you or your company employ other people, you are responsible for ensuring they comply with these requirements.

Please keep this information handy for reference by you and your staff. You may wish to display it somewhere so it is always available.

If you sell wine by the glass, are you displaying the quantity?

The quantities permitted are 125ml, 175ml or multiples of these. You can have a separate sign or table card, or else show this on the menu, wine list or price list.

Are the glasses you use for measuring wine crown stamped, and 125ml, 175ml or multiples of these sizes?

Make sure there are no four fluid ounce glasses still in use in the premises, as they are illegal.

Are your stamped wine glasses stored separately from any unstamped ones, which are used for bottles of wine and other drinks?

It is best to keep them separate so that staff do not use the wrong ones by mistake.

If you sell wine by the carafe, are your carafes crown stamped and in 250ml, 500ml, one litre or two litre sizes?

Are your gin, whisky, vodka and rum sold only in 25ml or 35ml measures, or multiples of 25ml or 35ml, and do you display a notice stating the measure?

You must not mix measures, e.g. sell 35ml singles and 50ml doubles. In addition you cannot have 35ml in one premises and 25ml in another.

Do you use Spirit Measuring Instruments (SMI's, sometimes known as 'optics') or do you measure using a 'thimble' capacity measure?

Make sure there are no 1/6 or 1/3 gill measures still in use in the premises, as they are illegal.

Are your spirit measuring instruments and capacity measures crown stamped?

This applies to the sale of gin, whisky, vodka and rum only but if you declare the measure of brandy, liquers, sherry etc. you must use a crown stamped measure to sell these items. If you mix three or more liquids, these do not have to be in a measured amount; for instance in cocktails.

Are your pint, half-pint and two-thirds of a pint beer glasses crown stamped or marked with the CE mark?

If they are not stamped or CE marked, you must use your crown stamped beer-measuring instruments (beer meters). You must use one or the other for selling draught beer and cider. If you use beer meters, do you have them regularly tested? Are your stamped or CE marked beer glasses stored separately from the unstamped ones used for bottled beer and soft drinks? It is best to keep them separate so that staff do not use the wrong ones by mistake. We would also recommend displaying a notice advising customers that you have beer meters, to avoid confusion.

If your beer glasses are brim-measure rather than line-measure, do you ensure that you and your staff fill up the glasses as full as possible? If the customer asks for a 'top-up', is one always given?

Under a Code of Practice agreed between the Brewing Industry and the Government, 5% head only is allowed on a pint. If the customer asks for a top-up, this must be given with good grace. The use of line-measure glasses overcomes this problem without the need for top-ups. Many licensees have found it useful to display a notice reminding customers of their right to ask for a top-up. Do your staff know it is an offence to serve a short measure?

Have you checked your drinks are accurately described?

If you advertise the brand name of a drink, then you must supply that brand of drink. Brand names can appear on bottles, optic stands, beer pump clips, price lists, menus etc.

If a customer asks for a drink by the brand name ("Pernod" or "Coca-Cola"), and you do not have that brand, tell the customer if you offer an alternative. Ensure that any promotional material around the bar is consistent with the brands you are currently selling.

Licensing Act 2003: Mandatory Conditions

The Licensing Act 2003 (Mandatory Licensing Conditions) Order 2010

Sets out five new conditions that apply to all licensed premises and those with a Club Premises Certificate. The first three of these conditions came into force on the 6 April 2010 and are:

  • a ban on irresponsible promotions
  • a ban on dispensing alcohol directly into customers' mouths
  • a mandatory provision of free tap water  

On the 1 October 2010 the remaining two conditions came into force. They are:

  • age verification policy
  • smaller measures

Age Verification

The Premises licence holder or club premises certificate holder must ensure that an age verification policy applies to the premises in relation to the sale or supply of alcohol.

This must as a minimum require individuals who appear to the responsible person to be under the age of 18 years of age to produce on request (before being served alcohol) identification bearing their photograph, date of birth, and a holographic mark. Examples of acceptable ID include photo card driving licences, passports or proof of age cards bearing the PASS hologram, although other forms of ID which meet the criteria laid out above are also acceptable.

The premises licence holder or club premises certificate holder must ensure that staff (in particular staff who are involved in the supply of alcohol) are made aware of the existence and content of the age verification policy applied by the premises.

This condition does not exclude best practice schemes such as "Challenge 21" or "Challenge 25" which require individuals who appear to be under an age which is greater than 18 to provide ID.

Please Note:

The responsible person is one of the following: the holder of the premises licence, the Designated Premises Supervisor; a person aged 18 or over who is authorised to allow the sale or supply of alcohol by a person under 18; or a member of or officer of a club present on the club premises in a capacity which enables him/her to prevent the supply in question.  

Smaller measures

The responsible person must ensure that the following drinks if sold or supplied on the premises are available in the following measures:

  • beer or cider - half pint
  • gin, rum, vodka or whisky - 25ml or 35ml
  • still wine in a glass - 125ml

As well as making the drinks available in the above measures, the responsible person must also make customers aware of the availability of these measures - for example, by making their availability clear on menus and price lists, and ensuring that these are displayed in a prominent place in the relevant premises (e.g. at the bar).

The above condition does not apply if the drinks in question are sold or supplied having been made up in advance ready for sale or supply in a securely closed container. For example, if beer is only available in pre-sealed bottles the condition to make it available in 1/2 pints does not apply.      

The Weights and Measures (Specified Quantities) (Unwrapped Bread and Intoxicating Liquor) Order 2011    

This Order makes provision in respect of the specified quantities in which beer, cider and wine sold in the glass from which it is to be drunk.

Article 4 amends the Weights and Measures (Intoxicating Liquor) Order 1988 to permit the sale by retail of 2/3 pint of draught beer and cider, to permit wines (other than fortified wines) sold in a quantity of less than 75ml to be sold in any quantity without quantity indications and to provide for the sale of fortified wines only in specified quantities of 50ml or 70ml with quantity indications.

Articles 2 and 5 make related amendments to the Weights and Measures Act 1985 and the Measuring Instruments (Capacity Serving Measures) Regulations 2006 to permit the use for trade of capacity measures of 2/3 pint.     

Prices and Price Display

Price indications are now controlled by the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. These regulations prohibit any misleading actions or omissions that may influence a consumer's decision to purchase. Incorrect pricing (e.g. stating a lower price than that charged) or the lack of a price (e.g. the extra cost of a 'top' of lemonade) may constitute such actions or omissions.

Is any price display easy to read and visible from the customer's side of the premises?

Ensure other material does not obscure any price list.

Are the prices up-to-date and correct?

If a particular meal or type of drink runs out, you must remove the price of it from the list as soon as is reasonably practicable.

Are there prices for different categories of food and drink available (e.g. starters, main courses, desserts, beers and spirits)?

They must be made clear to customers.

Do the prices include VAT?

Do your staff know that it is an offence for them to charge more than the indicated prices?

Where must I display my company name?

Every company, unless it has at all times been dormant since incorporation, must display a sign with its registered name at:

  • its registered office;
  • any inspection place;
  • at any location at which it carried on business (unless it is primarily used for living accommodation).

How must I display the sign with my company name?

You must display a sign with your company name:

  • in characters that can be read with the naked eye;
  • in such a way that visitors to that office, place or location may easily see it;
  • so that it can be seen at any time, i.e. not only during business hours;
  • continuously, but if the location is shared by six or more companies, each such company is only required to display its registered name for at least fifteen continuous seconds at least once in every three minutes.

Are you displaying the price of accommodation?

Any additional charges must be shown. Again, any misleading action or omission will be an offence. Refer to the Guidance on the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. (pdf 48kb)

Do you have a room that is used for one day sales? These can give rise to consumer problems. Ensure anybody taking bookings for sales has read our special guidance note and knows what questions to ask. Check you know the identity and address of the sellers. Ensure they agree to honour consumers' rights on goods purchased from them. Ask for the Trading Standards guidance note "Booking one day sales" - it will help you to tell whether it is a bona fide sale or a "scam".

The Protection from Tobacco (Sales from Vending Machines) (England) Regulations 2010

From the 1 October 2011 the person who controls, or is concerned with the management of premises where a cigarette vending machine is located must:

  • Ensure that the machine cannot be used by any member of the public to buy tobacco
  • Ensure that any cigarette advertising on the machine is covered over

The Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act 2002. The Tobacco Advertising and Promotion (Display) (England) Regulations 2010. SI 2010 No. 445. The Tobacco Advertising and Promotion (Display of Prices) (England) Regulations 2010. SI 2010 No. 863 and The Tobacco Advertising and Promotion (Specialist Tobacconists) Regulations 2010. SI 2010 No. 446.   

The law on the display of all products containing tobacco and the display of tobacco prices in England has changed.

The new legislation applies to all businesses selling tobacco products to the public, not just shops but also for example, "on-trade" licensed premises such as pubs and clubs.

It is now illegal to display tobacco products in shops and businesses in England, except to people over the age of 18 years in the limited circumstances set out in the new legislation. Where appropriate, age checks must be carried out before any tobacco product is shown to a customer who asks to buy tobacco or asks for information about a tobacco product.

It is also illegal to display the prices of tobacco products in the relevant shops and businesses in England, except in the formats set out in the legislation.

For more detailed information on the legislative changes go to the Guidance on Tobacco Displays (Word, 176kb)

Please Note: This information is not an authoritative interpretation of the law and is intended only for guidance. To see the various legislative requirements go to OPSI.

For further information, please contact the Trading Standards Service, Public Safety and Regulation, City of Newcastle upon Tyne, Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QH. Telephone: 0191 2116121. Email tradingstandards@newcastle.gov.uk

Page last updated: 
30 January 2018
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