Requirements of consumers must be met with liquor licence grant

Liquor licence requirements of consumers must be met with liquor licence grant. Recent decisions of the Director of Liquor Licensing have turned on the level of evidence provided by an applicant to show that there is an existing demand from the public for the proposed venue and type of product to be offered.  On the other hand, some recent decisions from the Liquor Commission suggest that the level of evidence an applicant is required to provide is more appropriately determined based on the potential harm or ill health an application may have on the particular locality.

This proposition was enunciated by the Commission in the Dan Murphy’s Cockburn decision where it stated that:

In addition to lack of evidence to show that the requirements of consumers will be met with the grant of this licence, it is the Commission’s view that the location of the proposed premises is the singularly important consideration in respect of harm and ill health which is likely to be caused by the granting of the application.

The Commission has since confirmed this approach in the First Choice Liquor Superstore Maylands decision.  In that case, the applicant was applying for a 1,250m liquor store.  While the Commission found (with the Deputy Chairperson dissenting) that the applicant had “demonstrated a requirement of the public for this type of outlet and it would provide added competition and a better product range than currently available in the locality”, it also accepted that “a Liquorland outlet would be well managed and have adequate harm minimisation policies.”  It also stated that “[H]arm, however, can arise irrespective of the strength of management of licensed premises as a result of their location and nature”.

Ultimately, the majority found that the “location of this proposed liquor outlet is a critical consideration in forming its view of the likelihood of harm and ill health resulting from the grant of the application”.  The applicant had “not adequately dealt with” the submissions from at risk groups located within the locality of the proposed store.  It was on this basis that the majority decided that “the evidence submitted to support the grant of the application for a new liquor store licence at this location does not satisfy the requirements of the Act”.

These recent decisions of the Commission recognise the importance placed on the locality of a potential licensed premise.  Applicants for new licences are well advised very early in the process to conduct a careful preliminary assessment of the area surrounding their sites to identify any at risk groups within the locality that may cause concern to the licensing authority from the viewpoint of the harm or ill health that may arise from the grant of the licence.

If you have any queries about locality or at risk groups, please do not hesitate to contact:

Dan Mossenson Ian Curlewis
Partner Partner
(08) 9288 6769  (08) 9288 6756


Jessica Patterson Alec Weston
Senior Associate Solicitor
(08) 9288 6946 (08) 9288 6873
Disclaimer – the information contained in this publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. You should seek legal advice in relation to any particular matter you may have before relying or acting on this information. The Lavan team are here to assist.