Fit and proper person - guidance for licence applicants

We take a risk based approach to licence applications. The reason for this is that the licences issued permit the licence holder to command positions which allow them varying degrees of power in relation to the public. This may be as a taxi driver, the organiser of a local event, a custodian of premises selling alcoholic beverages or a number of other positions of trust.

We want to ensure the safety of our constituents and visitors is placed at the heart of our decision-making process. We have a duty to ensure that we grant licences only where, taking all relevant matters into account, the prospective licence holder meets the requirements of being a fit and proper person.

Who is a fit and proper person

Factors which we may take into account when determining whether or not a prospective licence holder is a fit and proper person include (but is not limited to) where the applicant:

  • has had any convictions relating to violence, sexual offences, drugs, fraud or other dishonesty  (this may include any conviction that would normally be considered ‘spent’ under Rehabilitation of Offenders legislation)
  • has broken any laws relating to housing and letting
  • has been found guilty of unlawful discrimination

Please note that the above information is for guidance only and each application will be considered on its own merits. We will look at every case individually and will give due consideration to all the relevant factors of the application when making a decision.

As a licensing authority we are not restricted to the consideration of a person’s previous convictions in determining whether someone is a fit and proper person to hold a licence. We can also take into account a person’s conduct or misconduct, whether or not that conduct or misconduct has resulted in a conviction.

Our determination will be made based on the balance of probabilities rather than proof beyond reasonable doubt. This means that level evidence required to determine a person’s fitness is not as high as it would be in a court of law. In reaching a decision, we will take into account the application, any objections or representations made and any submissions made by parties at a hearing together with any additional evidence submitted by the applicant.