When is a Liquor Licence required?

The sale and supply of alcohol in Guernsey and Herm is regulated by the Liquor Licensing (Guernsey) Ordinance, 2006 (the Ordinance). It is an offence under the Ordinance for a person to sell intoxicating liquor unless they hold a licence.

What are the categories of Liquor Licences?

The categories of licence are defined in the Ordinance and they are as follows:

  • Category A Standard Licence
  • Category B Residential Licence
  • Category C Hotel Licence
  • Category D Club Licence (private members)
  • Category E Nightclub Licence
  • Category F Port Licence (on sales)
  • Category G Passenger Vessel Licence
  • Category H Casino Licence
  • Category I General Off-Licence
  • Category J Port Off-Licence (duty-free sales)

Each category has permitted hours for the sale of alcohol. These can be found in the 2nd Schedule of the Ordinance.

In relation to licences falling within category A (Standard), B (Residential), C (Hotel), D (Club) or E (Nightclub), an applicant should also consider the need for an Under 18’s Permit in respect of any bar, or any part of any bar within the licensed premises.

Who can hold a Liquor Licence and are any qualifications required?

A person or a body corporate (typically a limited company) [1] can become a licensee (i.e. hold the relevant licence), however if a body corporate applies for the licence, it is required to nominate an individual as its Designated Official who will be responsible for the conduct of it.

The Office of the Committee for Home Affairs, the Guernsey Police and the Court expect anybody working in the licensed trade to have a good understanding of a liquor licensing legislation and anyone applying for a liquor licence or to be appointed as a Designated Official must pass the Drug and Alcohol Strategy Examination before attending the Court.

What is the Procedure for applying for a Liquor Licence?

Straight forward/unopposed applications are heard in Tuesday Ordinary “Liquor Licensing” Court which sits every Tuesday straight after Contracts Court.

The licensee or the proposed Designated Official must be present in Court when the application is heard.

The applicant must comply with all relevant requirements under the Ordinance when applying for a Liquor Licence:

  • At least 28 clear days prior to the date in which the application is made to the Court the applicant shall send a notice in writing to the relevant departments, namely:
    • The Office of the Committee for Home Affairs
    • The Constables and Douzaine of the parish where the premises are located
    • The Office of Environmental Health and Pollution Regulation (if also applying for Under 18’s Permit)
    • The Health and Safety Executive (when the premises hold a boarding permit).

The departments will prepare reports for presentation in Court. The purpose of these reports is to assist the Court in making its decision whether to grant the application.

  • If required, the applicant shall arrange for notices to be published in Gazette Officielle and displayed at the premises.

I have a Liquor Licence, is there anything else I need to be aware of?

Once the application is granted the licensee must remember that any changes made to the licence/the premises must be approved by the Court. This include change of Designated Official, any extension to the licensed area and also any material alteration to the licensed premises.

The application process can be confusing so if you are unsure of the process or you need assistance with making an application please contact Jana Valkovska at jana.valkovska@ferbrachefarrell.com or your usual contact at Ferbrache & Farrell.


[1]  A body corporate cannot hold a Category G  Passenger vessel Licence

Author Jana Valkovska Senior Court Officer & Paralegal