Scottish clampdown on binge drinking in disarray after sheriff’s ruling

January 2011

Live events industry

A Dundee bar has won a legal challenge against ban imposed by licensing board on its student discount cards after a Judge ruled that the cars for drinks were legal in a test case on ‘irresponsible’ drinks promotions. Dundee’s Sheriff Court ruled in favour of Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) “Yellow Card” student discount card used at its Scream pub the Nether Inn in Dundee. M&B, which has since sold the pub, appealed against a warning issued by the licensing authority that the discount card breached new licensing laws on irresponsible promotions. It is believed to be the first appeal of the new rules on drinks promotions that came into force with the Licensing Act’s introduction in September 2009. Dundee City Council’s Licensing Committee argued that the cards contravened the irresponsible promotions ban under the 2005 Licensing Act because different prices are offered to a distinct group of people — in this case students. Deals available include 35p off all pints and spirits. However, Sheriff Robert Dunlop QC said the act ruled that drinks discounts had to be in place for 72 hours but did not outlaw different prices for different groups of people. Dundee City Council has been ordered to pay M&B’s legal costs.

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