The implementation of the new “sex encounter” laws

Although most English club owners {the new laws don’t apply in Scotland} seem to be blissfully unaware {or at least are showing no interest in} the situation, there are well publicised major changes of the legal framework regarding striptease/lap dancing venues taking place. The new laws have passed the various readings in parliament , had the sham consultation period and are currently planned to come into force on April 6th 2010. The laws will affect any premises in England and Wales where striptease occurs more than 12 times a year.Although organisations like the Lap Dance Association{though not the 70% of UK clubs who have done nothing}, Equity, GMU etc have lobbied against the new laws these are now passed and it seems highly unlikely to me that once implemented any future government will repeal the act.
If the April 6th date is met {this is by no means certain see below} there will follow a further consultation period of up to 12 weeks while the councils decide whether they want to implement the new laws in their area {70% never bothered to reply to the government’s initial consultation on the subject suggesting it’s not a high priority to many} or not. If the council is intent on going ahead it must then contact the clubs {plus any new applicants that emerge} concerned who will then have 6 months to reapply for a license under the new format. The council can turn down a license under the new law for several additional reasons {eg it has set a quota of clubs for the town meaning some will have to close, vocal local opposition, unsuitable area etc} which it cannot use under the current system. After a further 6 months under the transitional arrangements then the club if it fails to get a new license could then be forced to close, there are no “grandfather rights” in the new law. In theory then if the April 6th date stands then the first clubs will be shut by this law {and it has been introduced by people like Harriet Harman specifically to close clubs}in the summer of 2011.The April 6th date currently looks dubious both because the procedures that need to be followed look likely to overrun and also because a general election is looming. If the 6th April date is not met the next date will be 1st October 2010 which would add 6 months onto the whole process. If the Conservatives win the election they are also committed to something very similar though it could be as part of a wider look at alcohol licensing generally which would slow the process down somewhat.
If clubs are to survive in this new, more difficult environment it’s vital that they approach the new law in the right manner consistent with the overall EU based legal business framework that operates in the UK. This includes both things like the Human Rights Act and restrictions as to what councils can charge for licenses. The Lap Dancing Association has taken expensive legal opinion on this subject and is in the process of developing an effective application strategy supported by a pack of information including legal opinion, suggested formats for responses, factual information to counter the nonsense produced by the likes of Object, an industry code of practise etc. This will be available to all members of the LDA in advance of the law actually coming into force and if anybody really wants to stay in business after mid 2011 I would strongly suggest that they make use of it.An individual club will be able to appeal a removal of it’s license in the courts as it can now but the new legislation gives councils many more grounds to refuse a license and the individual appeal process will end up becoming more complex, lengthy, and expensive. It is in the interest of all clubs that a well thought out and united response is made when the new laws arrive.

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Author: Saxon is covering the European Striptease industry with monthly updates on or famous London Gossip, Interviews with industry people, articles and news from the world of striptease. We also offer a Striptalk forum, Industry Directory with Stripclubs and Agents and a Job board for the Striptease industry in Europe.