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Public meetings and demonstrations

A member of the University who intends to organize a protest or demonstration within the precincts of the University (i.e. within three miles of Great St Mary's Church) should consult the Senior Proctor well in advance.

The Proctors will uphold the right to lawful protest and to freedom of speech, but they have a duty to ensure that public meetings and assemblies within the precincts of the University are peaceful and orderly both in intent and fact.

Any member of the University who intends to invite a speaker who is not a resident member of the University to address, or who is aware that persons who are not resident members may attend, a demonstration or open speaker-meeting to be held on University premises, or at the Cambridge Union Society, must notify the Senior Proctor at least five days in advance on the requisite form (obtainable from the University authority responsible for the premises in question). The full co-operation of all members of the University is expected. Colleges have similar requirements for meetings held on their premises, and the senior College member responsible for their oversight should be consulted.

Organizers of meetings are responsible for ensuring that fire regulations and other conditions attached to the use of the meeting place are not infringed.

Public Performances

A full copy of the Licensing Act 2003 can be found at

Licensing Authorities (usually local authorities) are responsible for licensing the sale and supply of alcohol, the provision of regulated entertainment and the provision of late night refreshment in England and Wales. If you are carrying on any of these activities, you will need the relevant authorisation and should speak to the local licensing authority.

Legislation now demands that any play or entertainment that is held and ticketed with an expectation of a profit being made should be licensed. Please note this is a change from previous legislation, which stated that if attendance was restricted to members of the Club putting on the performance, or to members of the College concerned and their bona fide guests, or to resident members of the University and their bona fide guests, it did not constitute a 'public' performance or 'public' entertainment. If you are in doubt as to the status of your proposed event please seek clarification from the City Council, contact details below.

For events which are to take place on College premises, advice should be sought beforehand from the College authorities. Organisers are reminded that, even if an entertainment or performance does not require a licence, they may be held responsible if inadequate precautions are taken to ensure the safety of the performers and the audience.

When a new play, or a new adaptation or presentation of an old play, is to be performed, all those concerned may be liable to prosecution by the Civil Authority if the words and action of a play constitute a criminal offence (e.g. obscenity, incitement to racial hatred, or provocation likely to lead to a breach of the peace). They may also be liable to a civil action for defamation. Please check with the University Marshal's Office at 1 St Mary's Passage.

Members of the University and University societies are advised that where they are arranging a performance of a play or entertainment for which a licence is required, they should not advertise the event until they have obtained the licence. They are also advised that owners' permission must always be obtained before advertisements are displayed on any site; it is an offence at law to affix advertising matter of any kind to buildings, hoardings, trees, etc., without permission.

If any play or entertainment takes place without a necessary licence, or without complying with the conditions of a licence, the organizers of the entertainment could be liable for a fine.

Full details and application forms can be found in the event of you applying for an entertainments or other form of licence from:

For further help or advice please contact the Local Licensing Officer on 01223 457899/ 457879 or email Normal office hours are 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 9 a.m. - 4.30 p.m. on Fridays.