Age Verification and Acceptable ID


On 1 October 2013 a new regulation comes into force which has the effect of allowing new forms of ID to be treated as acceptable for the purposes of verifying someone’s age under the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005. The changes have been made through the Sale of Alcohol to Children and Young Persons (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2013 (SSI 2013/199).

At present, the following forms of ID are acceptable:

  • Passport
  • EU Photographic Driver’s Licence
    (Both of which are provided for under s.102 and s.108 of the 2005 Act)
  • PASS card approved by the British Retail Consortium
    (Which was added by virtue of the The Sale of Alcohol to Children and Young Persons (Scotland) Regulations 2007 (SSI 2007/93) and came into force on 1 September 2009)

From 1 October 2013, the following additional forms of ID will ALSO be acceptable:

  • Ministry of Defence ID (Form90)
  • Photo ID bearing the PASS hologram
  • EU member state (other then the UK) national identity card, and also photographic identity cards from Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, or Switzerland
  • A Biometric Immigration document

There a couple of points of note here.

Firstly, the change in relation to the PASS hologram reflects the practice of organisations other than PASS itself becoming accredited by them to bear their hologram and removes the reference to the British Retail Consortium. It is not uncommon to find some higher education cards or bodies like “Young Scot” with a PASS hologram.

Secondly, I would remind licensees that the effect of these regulations is not that these new forms of identification MUST be accepted. It is still entirely up to the licensee to decide whether or not to allow service. Just because the customer can produce a valid form of ID does not mean they are entitled to be served.

It is also up to licensees to decide which of these new forms of ID they are willing to accept, or not accept. It is entirely discretionary. What the regulations do introduce is the right to rely on production of these new forms of ID as evidence of “due diligence” in terms of the defence to offences under the Act, as well as compliance with the condition on every licence in Scotland requiring an age verification policy, otherwise known as Challenge 25.

For further information on the legal “right of refusal”, see my previous post here.

For my analysis on possible issues with the “Challenge 25” licence condition, see my previous post here.




About Stephen McGowan

Leading Scottish licensing solicitor at TLT LLP.
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2 Responses to Age Verification and Acceptable ID

  1. Chezel says:

    On the grounds of a passport, does the passport have to be valid? As in not expired? Or can an expired passport be acceptable?

    • Dear Cheryl

      There is no hard and fast rule on this as the ACt does not specifically say the passport has to be unexpired. However, I tend to take the view that an expired passport or driving licence is no longer a passport or driver licence which can be relied upon and therefore would probably avise clients to reject service.



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