Ministers announce waiver of all fees associated with Special Exemption Orders until the end of April
21 January, 2022
The Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD, and the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, TD, are pleased to announce that the court fees and their associated excise duty relating to Special Exemptions Orders, or so called SEOs, will be waived until the end of April, 2022. This follows a previous waiver that was in place from 19 October 2021 to 31 December 2021.
Nightclubs and late bars need to obtain a Special Exemption Order from the District Court for every occasion they want to trade past normal trading hours. SEOs permit extended opening hours until 2.30am.
The court fee for each Special Exemption Order is €300 and an excise duty of €110 per application is also payable to the Revenue Commissioners.
Making the announcement after Cabinet today, Minister McEntee said,
“I know that the lifting of restrictions will be warmly welcomed, perhaps no more so than by those working in nightclubs and late bars.
“All licence holders, but particularly those serving in the late night trade, have found themselves in such a difficult situation as a result of COVID-19. This Government is committed to supporting these businesses and the night time economy to get back on their feet in 2022.
“We initially introduced the waiver in relation to SEOs for late night trade licence holders who traditionally trade past normal opening hours in October of last year, and I am delighted to be able to extend this exemption until the end of April, 2022. It will be still necessary for the SEO court application to be made and the order to be obtained by the licensed premises.
“I look forward to further changes in this area as part of my reforms to the licensing laws in the forthcoming Sale of Alcohol Bill.”
Minister Donohoe said,
“The waiver of court fees and excise duty for special exemption orders recognises the particular difficulties experienced by the sector where many businesses have been closed for a significant period of time or had to operate at a reduced capacity on reopening last October.”
Note for Editors:
Nightclubs and late bars operate on the basis of Special Exemption Orders. A Special Exemption Order is obtained from the District Court for premises to which an on-licence is attached for on the pretence that a ‘special occasion’ is taking place on the premises. A Special Exemption Order is required for each and every time a licensed premises wants to trade past normal opening hours and permits extended opening hours (to 2.30am). The court fee for each Special Exemption Order is €300 and an excise duty of €110 per application is also payable to the Revenue Commissioners.
It is intended that this waiver will be in effect until the end of April, subject to the finalisation of the SI and signature by the Minister for Justice and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.
It will be still necessary for the SEO court application to be made and the order to be obtained by the licensed premises
The Government gave its approval, on 15 September 2021, for the drafting of the General Scheme of the Sale of Alcohol Bill. Work is well advanced on this major legislative reform. The reform of the Special Exemption Order process and associated costs is a long sought reform for the industry that will be addressed in the new legislative proposals.