Personal Licence

A Personal Licence authorises a person aged 18 or over to supervise or authorise the sale of alcohol.  There is a requirement for every personal licence applicant to be trained to a national standard and produce a training certificate with their application form.  Applicants are advised to apply for a personal licence for the area in which they are ordinarily resident.  The personal licence has a fixed duration for 10 years.

Personal Licence Holder Qualification

When selling alcohol on licensed premises, the sale must be authorised by a personal licence holder. Furthermore, the premises manager must possess a personal licence. In many premises, other members of staff also attain personal licence holder qualifications so that they can authorise sales in the absence of the premises manager. 

The holder of a personal licence must undergo refresher training to ensure their licence remains valid, and they must produce evidence that they have undergone this refresher course, to the licensing board that they originally produced their personal licence holder certificate to, within 5 years of achieving their personal licence (with a three month grace period).

  • If licence holders do not renew their personal licences within this time period, their personal licences will be revoked.
  • If the premises manager has their personal licence revoked then the sale of alcohol will no longer be permitted in their premises.
  • If personal licence holders who are not premises managers, have their licences revoked, they will no longer be allowed to authorise sales in the absence of the premises manager.

Transition period

The personal licence holder qualification came into effect on 01 September 2009, however a number of personal licence holders were trained, certificated and issued with personal licences prior to this, during the transitional period 01 March 2008 - 31st August 2009. Amongst this group, there is some question over exactly when their 5 year period begins – is it from the date that their licence was issued, which could be as early as 2008, or is it the date the licence came into effect – 01 Sept 2009?

Clarification of the issue

The Scottish Government will be issuing guidance to Licensing Boards to ensure that all personal licence holder qualifications achieved in this transition period 01 March 2008 - 31st August 2009 will be treated as being issued on 01 September 2009.

Therefore, all those who gained their personal licence holder qualification between 01 March 2008 and 01 Sept 2009, will have to undergo refresher training, and submit evidence of this to their licensing board before 01 December 2014.

Personal licence holders who gained this qualification after 01 September will have until 5 years (and 3 months) of this later date i.e. if a personal licence is issued on, for example 01 June 2012, then the proof that the refresher training has been carried out must be submitted to the same licensing board before 01 September 2017.

If personal licence holders do not submit details of the refresher course to their licensing board before the deadline, their personal licences will be revoked.