Are UK Restaurants Responsible to Cut Patrons Off?


The laws of the U.K. differ from those in the U.S. when it comes to cutting off service to intoxicated customers. In the U.K., a significant part of the job of a licensee and the staff working in their restaurant is to make sure drunk customers are not served any more alcohol. Laws are in place throughout the U.K. ensuring bar and restaurant staff do not sell alcohol to persons who are already intoxicated, with fines of $100 given to staff who ignore the rules.

A licensee creates a contract

In the U.K., the operator of a restaurant serving alcohol is given a license to do so by local authorities. An article by The Morning Advertiser, explains each licensee has the right to refuse service at their establishment for good reason. An invisible contract is drawn up by the licensee and the customer who come together to do business on the premises of the restaurant. A customer has no legal right to expect service and is, essentially asking for the right to buy an alcoholic drink when ordering from a member of the restaurant staff.

Related: Pub Licensee’s Right to Reject |

Driving while intoxicated

Part of the reason why the U.K. is so strict on serving drunk customers is the recent drive to reduce the cases of driving while intoxicated. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents compiles figures on the instances of driving while intoxicated in each year. 2016 alone saw 240 deaths on the roads of the U.K. owing to drunk drivers with 70,000 people charged with driving while intoxicated offenses in the same year. In various parts of the U.K., the blood alcohol levels of individuals vary by the country to make the offense a little more confusing in the Union.

Related: Drunk Driving |

No legal definition of drunk

The legal definition of drunk is a difficult one to establish in the U.K. with no exact definition of intoxicated ever fully developed. Instead, the right to refuse entry and service is something used by most restaurant owners and staff to cut off a customer who already appears to be drunk. Restaurants, clubs, and pubs in the U.K. are classed as private premises licensed to serve alcohol which provides the licensee the right to refuse entry without giving a specific reason. As the onus is now on the licensee to refuse service to a customer in the U.K., the number of cases of alcohol poisoning admitted to the overworked National health service will hopefully be reduced.

Related: Amendment of Law as to Drunkenness |

Here’s another article like this we think you’d enjoy: 4 Weirdest Alcohol Laws in the US.

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