Any public performance of a film exhibition is controlled under the Licensing Act 2003
The Act does not just apply to cinema premises but also includes exhibitions produced by video equipment such as video juke boxes in pubs and video screens in nightclubs. A Premises Licence is needed to run a cinema.
Films can normally only be shown if the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has awarded a certificate. These range from 'U' which means universal and can be seen by anyone, to '18' which means that only persons who are 18 and over can be admitted to see a particular film.
The Council has the power to act as a local censor and give permission for a film to be shown which has not been granted a certificate by the BBFC. The Council also has powers to prohibit the exhibition of a film even though a certificate has been granted,or alter the BBFC certification from, for example a 'PG' to a '12'.
Copies of the Licensing Act 2003 can be purchased from Her Majesty's Stationery Office.