Liquor Licensing

Liquor Licensing Lawyers Perth WA

The Perth based team of liquor licensing lawyers at Dwyer Durack provide technical advice on all aspects of liquor licensing and hospitality law. The team is headed by Peter Fraser, who has been active in representing the interests of members of the liquor industry since 1997.

Peter Fraser has represented a wide and diverse range of stakeholders in the hospitality and liquor Industry throughout Western Australia and regularly acts on behalf of parties in new and ongoing liquor licence applications, disputes and appeals. 

Dwyer Durack has a history of being “for the working man” all the way back to 1915, including acting for and advising publicans, hoteliers and stakeholders throughout the liquor industry in WA. With a wealth of knowledge and history behind the firm, and over 30 years collectively in the industry behind our liquor licensing team, Dwyer Durack can assist with all and every aspect of your liquor licence and venue management, including transfers and initial applications.   

Dwyer Durack’s Perth based liquor licensing lawyers and professional paralegal team are able and qualified to offer advice, representation and assistance in all areas of liquor licensing and hospitality. As a longstanding member of the Australian Hotels Association (AHA), Dwyer Durack offers special discounted rates to AHA members. Additionally, the knowledgeable team of liquor licensing lawyers at Dwyer Durack have advised and lectured at a number of AHA events over the years. 

We offer advice and representation to members of the liquor industry across all relevant jurisdictions, including appearing before government departments, agencies, before the police and in court.

Click here to see a sample of the various venues and businesses across WA we have assisted with their liquor licensing requirements.

Contact Our Liquor Licensing Lawyers in Perth WA

If you require advice regarding your liquor licence application or in relation to an existing liquor licence, contact our liquor licensing lawyers and experienced paralegal team today by calling 9289 9888. Our law firm is located on St Georges Terrace in the heart of the Perth CBD.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do I Need A Lawyer for My Liquor Licensing Matter?

Liquor licensing is a technical and niche area of law, and there are many hurdles which can daunt even experienced licensees, publicans and hoteliers. Our liquor licensing lawyers in Perth strive to make the liquor licensing process as easy and stress-free as possible for our clients. 

Engaging a liquor licensing lawyer to act on your behalf takes the pressure off you and leaves you free to focus on running and developing your business. Our liquor licensing lawyers will explain every step of the process and provide advice and guidance as your matter proceeds. 

With more than 30 combined years of practice in liquor licensing and hospitality Law, our team of liquor licensing lawyers and paralegals have developed a comprehensive understanding of the relevant legislation and requirements and know the liquor licensing processes inside and out. 

Whilst there are “non lawyers” who market themselves as “Liquor Consultants” and “Hospitality Management Advisors”, engaging a qualified liquor licensing Lawyer provides you with the peace of mind that your representatives are legally trained professionals with in-depth knowledge and understanding of the liquor legislation and liquor regulations.

What Is A PIA?

The Public Interest Assessment Submission (“PIA”) is the largest and most substantial part of any liquor licence Application.

The Liquor Control Act 1988 provides that, in any liquor licence application, the overriding consideration for the Licensing Authority is whether the grant of the Application is in the Public Interest. A PIA should include all the information addressing the Public Interest legislative criteria that the Licensing Authority will be required to give consideration to.

Prospective applicants often say “I don’t know where to start”, or “I don’t have time to do a PIA”. Preparing a PIA can be a daunting and time-consuming aspect of any application.

A deficient PIA can mean rejection of a liquor licence application in some cases, leading to a three (3) year period during which neither the unsuccessful applicant or any other person is permitted to re-apply for that class of liquor licence at that location. This can mean the difference between the success or failure of a business.

It is important to get the PIA right, and to address all of the Public Interest considerations in the Liquor Control Act. Our experienced liquor licensing lawyers can draft Public Interest Submissions tailored to your venue to give your liquor licence application the best possible chance of approval.

Can I Reapply if My Liquor Licence Application Has Been Refused?

If your liquor licence application has been refused, you are not allowed to apply for the same type of liquor licence for a period of 3 years after your application is rejected. 

This is why it is so important to make sure that your liquor licence application (including the PIA) is prepared properly on the first occasion and you have all the necessary evidence to support it.

A properly prepared, substantial and comprehensive application gives your application the best possible prospect of being granted a liquor licence.

What Might Impact My Ability to Be Granted A Liquor Licence in WA?

There are many factors that may impact your ability to be approved for a liquor licence in WA. The grant or refusal of a liquor licence depends on a number of matters which are unrelated to the requirements in the Liquor Control Act.

These can include:

  • Local Government regulations relating to:
    • Planning
    • Zoning
    • Health; or
    • Noise.
  • Neighbouring businesses and residents (Objections)

Our liquor licensing lawyers can assist you to identify all potential issues which may impact upon your prospects of being granted a liquor licence, provide advice in relation to how to overcome or address any risks, and provide guidance at every step of the application process.

This can include liaising with the Local Government regarding the planning and health considerations of your potential or existing venue, to give your venue the best possible chance of being granted a liquor licence.

Why Are “Trading Conditions” Important?

If granted, your liquor licence will be subject to several conditions. Some conditions are standard and imposed automatically by virtue of the operation of legislation or policy.

Other conditions imposed can be tailored or directed at your venue particularly, given the manner in which you have indicated to the Licensing Authority that you intend to trade.

Trading conditions can greatly influence the manner in which you can trade under your licence. By way of example, a condition imposing a prohibition on loud music can restrain you from hosting live bands and music or indeed even playing amplified music at all.

It is therefore important to give serious consideration to the conditions on your liquor licence, and, if appropriate, indicate early to the Licensing Authority any proposed conditions worded in such a manner so as to permit you to trade in the manner you wish, if granted.

It is possible to apply to add, remove or vary trading conditions once imposed, but this can only be done if there is appropriate evidence demonstrating that the variation sought is in the public interest. Proposing reasonable and acceptable trading conditions early can circumvent the need to later seek to vary unworkable trading conditions.

Proposing certain reasonable and workable trading conditions early can also potentially minimise the likelihood of Interventions or Objections being lodged against your Application.

What Happens if the Licensee or A Staff Member is Charged with An Offence Under the Liquor Control Act?

The Liquor Control Act provides for a number of offences associated with breaching the obligations imposed pursuant to the Act, which can be investigated by either the Licensing Authority, or the WA Police (usually through a specific branch known as the Liquor Enforcement Unit (“LEU’)).

A charge alleging a breach of the Act can be dealt with in one of two ways:

  1. Infringement

    A Liquor Infringement can be issued by either a Liquor Inspector (an agent of the Licensing Authority responsible for ensuring compliance with the Liquor Control Act), or by a Police Officer for a breach of the Liquor Control Act.

    An infringement must be issued within 21 days of the alleged breach of the Act.

    Paying an infringement does not constitute admission of guilt of the alleged offence but can be relied upon in subsequent disciplinary proceedings (if any).

    A liquor infringement is similar to traffic infringement such as a speeding fine, in that it does not appear on your criminal record if simply paid.

    As to the long-term effects of an infringement, see our page Investigations and Disciplinary Proceedings.

It is possible to elect to have an alleged breach dealt with by way of prosecution (see below).

  1. Prosecution

    The Police can also institute a criminal prosecution of a licensee, approved manager, staff member, or director of a licensee in certain circumstances. Such charges are generally heard by the Magistrates Court of Western Australia, and are considered criminal proceedings.

    An accused can then plead guilty or not guilty and proceed the same way as any other criminal proceeding (sentencing, a trial etc).

    A finding or plea of guilty to a prosecution of a breach of the Liquor Control Act does constitute a criminal conviction and will appear on your criminal history.


There can be serious consequences as a result of a breach (or alleged breach) of the Liquor Control Act, depending on the severity of the breach and effect of the same. Even a simple breach can result in further disciplinary action being initiated by the Licensing Authority or the Police. It is therefore important to take the time to consider the implications of receiving, paying, or defending any alleged breach of the Liquor Control Act.

If you have received notice of any alleged breach of the Liquor Control Act, contact our office to discuss the breach with one of our liquor licensing lawyers today.

Pop-up Bars – a Snapshot

Pop-up bars have exploded in popularity in recent years. Consumers and patrons are naturally drawn to limited duration and one-off events which are not available year-round. They’re exclusive, they’re fun, and they’re fresh and new. Patrons are always looking for the next big/ underground/ secret/ limited/ fun venue.

If you have a great idea for a pop-up bar and require a liquor licence, our liquor licensing lawyers can assist you to help your idea become a reality. Dwyer Durack can help identify the steps you need to take to get the relevant approvals, deadlines for filing and the requirements you will need to satisfy the Licensing Authority in order to be granted a limited-duration licence.

If you are a new licensee (i.e. you do not currently hold a permanent liquor licence), an Occasional Licence may be your best option.

If you are an existing licensee (i.e. you hold a liquor licence already) you may be able to apply for a sub-class of Extended Trading Permit attached to your existing licence to host your pop-up bar.

Our liquor licence lawyers can guide you through the application process, no matter what stage your idea is at. Contact us today to discuss your pop-up bar concept and let us help you make it happen.

What is section 36B(4) of the Liquor Control Act?

Section 36B came into effect on 2 November 2019 and since that time, it has resulted in numerous applications for liquor stores and taverns being refused.  Specifically, section 36B(4) requires an applicant for a liquor store licence, hotel licence, tavern licence or prescribed special facility licence to satisfy the licensing authority that local packaged liquor requirements cannot reasonably be met by existing packaged liquor premises in the locality in which the proposed licensed premises are, or are to be, situated.

The licensing authority (Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries) and Director of Liquor Licensing have interpreted this section in a most conservative manner and many liquor store applications in the metropolitan area in particular have been refused as a consequence.

At the time of publishing, none of the refused applications have been the subject of an appeal to the Supreme Court and so the interpretation of the section remains somewhat in doubt.  However, for the time being, the current interpretation of the licensing authority and Liquor Commission will mean that applicants for licences that permit the sale of packaged liquor will have to go to considerable lengths to satisfy the licensing authority that the existing packaged liquor outlets cannot reasonably meet the local packaged liquor requirements.

Based on the published decisions, it appears that applicants need to engage in at least a four step process to meet the requirements of section 36B(4).

First, the applicant must identify all of the existing packaged liquor outlets within the locality.

Secondly, the applicant must undertake a detailed and thorough analysis of the stock range carried by the existing packaged liquor outlets.

Thirdly, the applicant must identify those products that they intend to stock which are not currently stocked by the existing packaged liquor outlets in the locality.

Fourthly, the applicant must demonstrate that there is a local consumer requirement for the unique products that are intended to be provided at the proposed outlet.

Even in circumstances where an applicant can demonstrate that it will sell some items that are not stocked at other outlets, if these unique items only make up a small proportion of the total items to be stocked, the licensing authority may still refuse the application.

The introduction of section 36B(4) has also resulted in a number of existing outlets successfully objecting to new packaged liquor outlets within their locality on the basis that the proposed stock range is not sufficiently different to what is already on offer.

Dwyer Durack can assist applicants and existing packaged liquor outlets to understand and negotiate the requirements of section 36B(4) of the Liquor Control Act.

"Dwyer Durack managed the objection process for my Liquor License application. They were extremely professional, thorough and prompt in guiding me through this process. There understanding of the legal precedence and how it applied in my case was exceptional. I would highly recommend them to anyone dealing with the grant of a Liquor License."

— Client of Peter Fraser (Liquor Licensing)

"The one thing I was most happy about was the fact they kept their word to the quote and the finances didn't blow out. I know sometimes it happens but was pleasantly surprised that it didn't. The application was professionally handled and the fees were competitive with other companies. Definitely recommend."

— Client of Peter Fraser (Liquor Licensing)

"It was a pleasure to work with you. Thank you for everything that you have done for us, always updating us and reminding us of necessary actions. You’ve given us great service."

— Client of Peter Fraser (Liquor Licensing)

"Working closely with Dwyer Durack for a number of years now. I have found the entire Dwyer Durack team to be extremely professional, very responsible and knowledgeable. I have set some challenging timeframes to the team and they have always delivered as promised. I would have no concerns in strongly recommending Dwyer Durack for all your Liquor Licensing requirements."

— Client of Peter Fraser (Liquor Licensing)

"Finding Peter and Leanne has been the luckiest thing that has happened to our family in a very long time. We are eternally grateful. I know there are no guarantees, but you have all done such an incredible job and we feel hopeful and optimistic."

— Client of Peter Fraser (Liquor Licensing)

Contact Us

Need Legal Advice?

For more information, get in touch with our team of lawyers at Dwyer Durack today.