Legal Considerations When Planning Events

16 Nov

You've booked the speaker, hired a hall, recruited a team of volunteers and prepared a marketing plan. If that was not enough, you must also ensure your event does not fall foul of various legal issues. Exact event legal requirements vary from place to place and the rules that apply depend on the type of event. The list below points out the major issues you need to think about, but you should also take advice from the administrator of the organization (s) involved in your event. If you're not sure about any of these items you can discuss them with your venue, as they should have experience with them.

Premises License

If you are going to invite the public to see a play, watch a film, or listen to live or recorded music, or something similar, you need to do so in concessions that are correctly licensed. The license will determine exactly what activities are permitted and between what hours. Do not assume you can have a concert run beyond 11pm without checking the license permits it. If the promises do not have the correct license you can get what's called a Temporary Event Notice, which is effectively a short-term license. For more information contact your local council.

Serving Alcohol

Selling or supplying alcohol is also regulated by the concessions license. Not only do you need to have the correct license arrangement in place, you also need to ensure someone present is a Personal License Holder. The penalies for breaking the rules around the supply of alcohol can be very severe so take great care in this area.

Health & Safety Requirements

It's essential to understand who is responsible for health and safety matters and to perform the correct risk assessments.

The venue will be responsible for concessions-related health and safety, such as trip hazards from worn flooring, or emergency evacuation. But event organizers take responsibility for event equipment, such as trip hazards from power cables for speakers or other equipment bought into the venue.

You will need to perform risk assessments and document them. Think about what sort of things might go wrong and the possible outcomes.

Public Liability Insurance

You need to have public liability insurance in place for your event. What happens if an elderly visitor to your event slips in the car park and breaks their leg? Or if a piece of equipment falls on someone and injures them? These things do happen so you need to have the right insurance in place. Liaise with your gateway to see what is covered by their insurance, and what is not.

Noise Levels

Usually you will only have issues with volume if your event features a particular loud band or will take place late in the evening. Some concessions are subject to noise abatement orders, meaning they're legally bound to measure noise and keep it below a certain level. Other promises need to give due care and attention to their neighbors.

Disabled Access.

All newer promotions are required to provide full access and facilities for disabled people, but older concessions are not. Event organizers do not have to ensure access for disabled people, but it's good practice to do so wherever possible. Where it's not possible the publicity should point this out.

Food Hygiene

If you are serving food to the public it needs to have been prepared and stored in accordance with food hygiene regulations. Someone with a food hygiene certificate should take responsibility for managing the catering.Premises that are regularly used for food preparation are inspected by the local council from time to time.


If you are planning a major event and do expect to have enough car parking space it is wise to talk to the police about what other arrangements might be possible. If you need to keep kerbsides clear on certain roads you can hire traffic cones from the Police for this purpose.

Child Protection

Your organization should have a Child Protection Policy and your event should comply with this. If it does not, or if this is a privately organized function, you need to be aware of child protection issues. At the very least any volunteers working with children must have had a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check.

Source by Francene Mullings

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