Licensing Courts

Oral Answers to Questions — Solicitor-General for Scotland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th March 1987.

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Photo of Mr Barry Henderson Mr Barry Henderson , North East Fife 12:00 am, 11th March 1987

asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland how many prosecutions have been mounted in the last 10 years against councillors who sit on licensing courts despite their spouses being licence holders and who fail to declare an interest when speaking against approval of a licence from another establishment in the same town.

Photo of Mr Peter Fraser Mr Peter Fraser , Angus East

There have been no such prosecutions under section 2 of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 1976. Such councillors are not disqualified by virtue of that section from acting as members of licensing boards or from taking part in proceedings before them.

Photo of Mr Barry Henderson Mr Barry Henderson , North East Fife

I am grateful to my hon. and learned Friend for his reply. However, does not that suggest that the position of licensing courts may be slightly different from other activities in local government? Will he bear this in mind when future legislation is considered to bring them into line, including cases in which a councillor may live with someone who is not their spouse, in another town?

Photo of Mr Peter Fraser Mr Peter Fraser , Angus East

Certainly the position under the Licensing (Scotland) Act 1976 is different from that which obtains under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, where, in the case of married persons living together, the interests of one spouse, if known to the other, shall be deemed for the purposes of the section also to be an interest of the other. However, as my hon. Friend will appreciate, any change in local government legislation or in licensing legislation would be for my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State.