Guide to Insurance, Licenses and Legislation

This is an excerpt from Film London's Guide to Filming in London (Permissions and Boroughs) replicated with their permission in October 2011

There are certain procedures in place for filming and photography. We outline some of these legal responsibilities, as well as offer an overview of other key licenses and legislation that may be relevant.


Public Liability Insurance covers the legal responsibilities of your production should your activities cause injury to a third party or damage to property.

You should have this cover in place to film in any location. All productions, international and domestic, need proof of this Insurance in order to receive permission to film or carry out commercial photography.

The policy can be extended to include contingent motor liability for vehicles hired with drivers, and employees' own vehicles. As with employer's liability insurance, this policy should be maintained from the earliest stages of pre-production until the completion of all post-production activities.

The amount of cover that will be required will vary depending on they size of your production, the location you will be using and what the filming or photography will entail. You can check with the location owners or the relevant Borough Film Service or local authority to find out exactly how much cover is required.

As a general rule you will be required to have a minimum of £2 million cover for street filming and photography (although in some areas you will be required to have at least £5 million). If you are a student film-maker and your project is part of your course, this should be covered by your college/university. You will need to supply confirmation from your college/university to this effect.

A basic list of media related insurance companies can be found on Film London's website.

To be insured by a UK insurance company the production company must be based in the UK. If you are not a UK film-maker you may be able to obtain insurance through a broker in the country in which you are based (you will need to get this document translated into English). However, non-UK policies will not be accepted in all locations, so you should check with the location owner or relevant Borough Film Service what their insurance requirements are before obtaining a policy.

Please note: Health & Safety is essential to an efficiently run shoot. If you do not adhere to Health & Safety regulations this may invalidate your insurance policy.


If you are filming with children of compulsory school age it is important that you check whether the actor will require a Child Performance Licence.

Child Performance Licences are issued by the Education Welfare department of the local authority in which the child resides (unless the child is at boarding school). Contact details for each Education Welfare team can be found in the document below.

The Children (Performance) Regulations 1968 requires a licence applicant to give notice of 21 days and whenever possible productions should apply for the licence within this time frame. Understanding that three weeks notice is not always possible for all productions, most Education Welfare teams will aim to deal with applications with 7 days notice, however this is the minimum notice required and productions should be aware that the Local Authority can insist upon 21 days notice being given.

In order to issue a short notice Child Performance Licence, the local authority will require all documentation to be submitted 7 days before filming is due to take place; this documentation includes:

- Part 1 of the Application; this document needs to be completed by the production company or the producer of the production and will include details on the date, time, location and content of the production

- Part 2 of the Application; to be completed by the child's parent, carer or legal guardian

- If the child will be absent from school then a letter authorising this absence will need be to be obtained from the school by the child's parent

- A Doctor's certificate / Medical certificate

It is a legal requirement that the child be supervised at all times by their parent or a licensed chaperone. The Education Welfare team will need to be informed of who will be supervising the child. Chaperones can only take responsibility for up to 12 children.

If you intend to employ volunteers, unpaid workers or offer work experience opportunities please ensure that you are familiar with the National Minimum Wage regulations.


Statutory obligations for filming procedures in London are shown in each relevant section of the Code of Practice. Productions are urged to read the Code and relevant obligations closely to ensure that they operate within the law.

The London Local Authorities (LLA) and Transport for London (TfL) Act 2008 provides new legislation which means that road closures (traffic management) can be granted by the Traffic Authority specifically for the purpose of filming on London's streets and highways.

Mandy would like to thank Film London for allowing us to reproduce this guide.

You can view the original source of this guide, with full links on the Film London website