Alcohol Licensing Law (Scotland)

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jim360 | 00:25 Sun 14th Dec 2014 | Law
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Hi all,

There have been a few incidents where I've been somewhat puzzled as to what the law actually says about alcohol purchasing. In particular, what surprises me is why I seem to need proof of age when (a) I'm rather older than 18, and indeed 25 which is nominally the cut-off point. Presumably I still retain my youthful good looks... and (b) I never actually buy alcohol anyway. It seems totally nonsensical that I should need to provide proof that I'm over 18 when the only drink I ever buy is orange juice.

In a similar and totally bizarre incident, I once was visiting my friend in Oxford, and she was attempting to buy a bottle of wine (for formal dinner, perhaps) the night after. When I was not going to be there. She had ID, and was the one making the purchase. I did not, and despite not being involved in the transaction in any way, the shop assistant refused the purchase and she had to buy the bottle later.

Seriously, what? It was my understanding that in England, there was no prohibition on people drinking alcohol in private, so long as they were over the age of 5. In Scotland this may not be the case, but on the other hand there are no grounds to presume that someone buying orange juice is trying to sneak a bit of alcohol in on the side.

There is an obvious answer to this, I suppose, in that I could just carry ID (possibly in the form of a provisional drivers license), but the whole situation is totally stupid. Is there a legal requirement to check everyone's age, regardless of the drink they are buying, or is it just certain bartenders being pig-headed?


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Not sure if this has been posted before: In October 2011, the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 was amended by the introduction of a new mandatory condition for all premises licences and occasional licences. This provides that there must be an age verification policy in relation to the sale of alcohol on the premises. The law has set a minimum age of 25 years for...
10:44 Sun 14th Dec 2014
Cloverjo That's up to the Court to decide.
Question Author
Thanks for that ZM, although having found the relevant legislation I'm still somewhat confused, because it refers specifically to sale of alcohol, and "does not apply in relation to any sale of alcohol which takes places on the premises merely by virtue of being treated ... as taking place on the premises," which by my interpretation seems to imply that if I am not the customer then my presence should have no effect. It still seems like there is an element of over-zealous in-store policy going on, which could in principle be challenged.

On the other hand, the website points out that there is "no automatic right" to enter the premises anyway, so maybe I'll just have to accept this after all. Still, it's rather frustrating.
Remember any pub or bar has a legal right to refuse service to anyone without giving a reason. That right has precedence over the customers 'right to buy' and can not be challenged except on racist / sexist grounds .
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Question Author
The incident in Oxford was to some extent a separate question, as indeed it didn't take place in Scotland. But I don't buy alcohol as a rule and so I have little occasion to carry ID. As I've mentioned before, I have only a passport and I don't particularly want to carry that around with me daily -- it's too valuable. Presumably I'll need to get a proper ID so that I can have freedom to... still not buy alcohol :/.

It is, at any rate, a sad state of affairs when people are making that snap (and utterly wrong) judgement.
Never mind Jim, another 40 years (if you keep your youthful appearance) and you'll be having to show your ID to get concessions for entry into certain events/tourist attractions etc.
Even in M&S here in Belfast you can't take a bottle of wine through the self service check-out without a member of staff okaying it with the computer.
That's to stop you knicking it, Sandy.
The squat bottles of cognac that I nick are safely balanced under my hat. The wines just a diversion.
How does being forced to carry 'proper id' stop someone fronting a purchase for someone else ? I think if someone is living where there are backward laws one might consider if a move was in order.
I find it strange that so many people are OK with carrying and producing identity cards. Is it because it only, theoretically, affects other people(ie. the young)
Jim, I've read through this, as much as I've had the patience for anyway.
At my local pub in England there is an age limit of 21. This isn't a legal limit, it is a limit enforced by the pub. I'm told it helps with insurance costs. It also helps with keeping some of the idiots out. So, as far as I can see, a pub has the right to set its own limits.

Whether you're ordering alcohol or just OJ is not really relevant to a bar, seeing as so many people 'pre-load' at home on cheap spirits before going out nowadays (then once in the pub, the man ordering OJ is just as likely to kick off as the man ordering a pint).
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I guess it's just frustrating to be lumbered in with everyone else my age. I couldn't kick off even if I wanted to, and it's a shame that landlords make such snap judgements, whatever the motivation. Ho hum.

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