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Amendments to the Licensing and Registration of Clubs Act

The Licensing and Registration of Clubs (Amendment) Act (Northern Ireland) 2021 (the Act) became law on 26 August 2021. The Act amends both the Licensing (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 (the Licensing Order) and the Registration of Clubs (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 (the Clubs Order).

The next step is to bring the law into operation. The changes made by the Act will not all come into effect at the same time but in phases, over the next few years.

In terms of changes to the Clubs Order, which will affect your members, the following sections of the Act came into operation on 1st October 2021.

Section 30 - Removal of additional restrictions at Easter
Easter weekend permitted hours now mirror what is available for any other weekend throughout the year.
Section 30 of the Act amends Article 24 of the Clubs Order by removing all references to Good Friday and Easter Sunday.


Section 31 - Removal of restrictions on late opening on Sunday
Section 31 of the Act further amends Article 24 and Article 26 of the Clubs Order to remove the restrictions on late opening on Sundays. This means that closing times on a Sunday will be the same as any other night. It is important to note, there will be no changes to the opening times on a Sunday.

Section 32 - Extension of “drinking-up” time
Section 32 of the Act amends Article 25 of the Clubs Order to extend the current drinking-up time in registered clubs from 30 minutes to one hour.

Section 33 - Increase in number of authorisations for special occasions
Section 33 of the Act amends Article 26 of the Clubs Order to increase the maximum number of late night authorisations the police may grant registered clubs from 85 to 104. Click here to download the application form.

Provision which clarifies the current law relating to day membership at sporting clubs also comes in to operation on 1 October and is included in paragraph 19 of Schedule 1 to the Act.

This allows a person specified in paragraph 13 to use facilities of the club on the day in question only if that person also engages in sporting activities of the club on that day.


There are a number of other changes that came into effect on 1st October which do not directly impact on registered clubs. Further details can be found in main guide available by clicking here.

It is important that the management committee or governing body of all registered clubs are familiar with the changes summarised above. I would appreciate it if you could share this with your members and recommend that they engage the services of a solicitor where necessary.

The changes will come into operation on 1 October, and registered clubs are legally required to comply with those changes.

Work is ongoing to identify the most appropriate time for the remaining changes to come into operation.

Clause 33 - Increase in Number of Authorisations for Special Occasions
Members should note the following additional requirement when applying for a late extension, singularly or in block.


In Phase 1 of the amendments the number of authorisations which can be granted by the police to any registered club in a year has increased from 85 to 104.
We are informed by the department that the form, which you can download from the links below, is to be used as the notice which is required to be placed outside, or adjacent to, the premises, outlining the late extension(s) once within the three week period prior to the first event. This form can also be used to notify the local council, which is also required under the new Act.
To apply to the PSNI for the late extensions you are advised to follow the procedure you have used previously.
You can download the form by clicking here (PDF format)  or  (Word format).