Solicitors in Glasgow
Sports Clubs and Associations

During my time on the Executive of the Scottish Golf Union and the 15 years or so when I was Legal Advisor to the Union, I developed a particular interest in the affairs of Golf Clubs.

Changes in Licensing Laws in Scotland in terms of the Licensing (Scotland) Act2005 which came into effect on 1st September 2009 introduced a number of measures which could be of assistance to many Golf and other Clubs at a time when disappearing waiting lists, reduced membership numbers, and lack of activity caused by the general economic recession plus the possible effect of the Equality Act 2010 are putting many Clubs under extreme pressure.

Surprisingly, I find that very few appear to be availing themselves of these opportunities.
While their application and the extent of assistance which they offer can vary considerably from Club to Club there are few for whom no succour is available.

What I have come across are, situations where organisations which under the previous licensing regime had been “Registered Clubs” and enjoyed all of the privileges which that status bestowed and following conversion under the new legislation became the holders of a Premises Licence have opted to amend their Operating Plan to enable the public to gain access to the premises at anytime without restriction thus enabling them to operate as discos etc.

While at first sight this appears to be an attractive prospect financially in the short term Clubs considering such a step should take into account the probable consequences of changing from a genuine club to an out and out commercial enterprise.

Those disadvantages which could follow the loss of the mutual trading status of a Club could include a liability to tax on profits arising from sales of alcohol to members, loss of a very substantial discount in relation to local rates and a very substantial increase in the annual charges which require to be paid to the Licensing Board to preserve the Licence.

Douglas S Dalgleish

Herbert House
22 Herbert Street
G20 6NB
Tel: 0141-337 1199
Fax: 0141-337 3300

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