The following questions are about selling alcohol in the United Kingdom.

  • Has anyone ever been convicted by a court for the only reason they did not do an age verification check?
  • What evidence would be accepted in a court to prove that someone looks under 18 years old?
  • Why do you think it's illegal to not perform an age check? Oct 27, 2022 at 8:17
  • I was wrong here - age check is voluntary in the UK. Deleted some comments. Selling alcohol doesn't care how old you look but how old you really are. Of course if you appear in court and say "the guy looked 35 to me", that may be an excuse. And having to admit "my store has a policy to check if someone looks under 25, and this one looks 18 but was actually 17 and I didn't check" is not good for your case.
    – gnasher729
    Oct 27, 2022 at 8:31
  • @gnasher729 I think you are partially correct in that a licensed premises is apparently required to have some sort of ID check policy, but god knows what is allowable in that policy. Oct 27, 2022 at 8:34

1 Answer 1


It's not a criminal offence to fail to do an age verification check.

It is a criminal offence to sell alcohol to children (people under 18 years old). It is a defence that either the seller took all reasonable steps to establish the buyer's age or nobody could reasonably have suspected from the buyer's appearance that they were under 18. (sale of alcohol to children s146 Licensing Act 2003)

It is mandatory (i.e. a requirement of licensing) for all licensed premises and those with a club premises certificate to have an age verification policy (The Licensing Act 2003 (Mandatory Licensing Conditions) (Amendment) Order 2014).

At minimum this requires 'the responsible person' (the person selling alcohol) to request identification (with photograph, date of birth, and a holographic mark or an ultraviolet feature) from individuals who appear to be younger than 18 years old. The Home Office has produced guidance including a 'model policy'.

  • Thank you. I am a bit more interested about an real example of someone being convicted for the reason they did not do an age verification check (if it exists). I am curious what the evidence(s) would be to prove that somebody could reasonably have suspected from the buyer's appearance that they were under 18. Nov 5, 2022 at 14:51

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