Investigations into the operations or persons involved in the running of a Liquor Licence can be commenced by two separate bodies: the Western Australian Police, or the Licensing Authority itself.

In either circumstance, there is usually a trigger, whether a large incident involving an alleged breach of conditions, or the Liquor Control Act, or a series of small incidents such as a string or cluster of liquor infringements having been issued.

Disciplinary Proceedings against a Licensee can include:

Compliance investigations

Where there is a suspected or alleged breach of the Liquor Control Act or the terms of a licence, the Compliance division of the Licensing Authority, or the Western Australian Police, can issue a notice requiring a Licensee or person to produce evidence requested within a certain time frame, or can issue “Please explain” requests, where there is an anomaly or irregularity with regards to the sale or supply of liquor.

These are lawful directions under the Liquor Control Act, and careful consideration must be given to responses, to ensure that your rights as Licensee are preserved whilst still remaining compliant with the law.

Our lawyers can assist you, including attending investigation meetings or compliance inspections with you, to ensure that your Venue and Business is protected.

Section 64 Proceedings

Usually commenced by way of a Show Cause letter, the Licensing Authority can request a response from a Licensee asking the Licensee to justify why certain conditions shouldn’t be imposed upon a licence.  The Licensing Authority can then, at it’s own discretion and initiation, impose additional or more onerous conditions upon a Licence.

Once commenced, a Section 64 Proceeding can be time consuming, expensive and onerous to fight, with the consequences of failing to defend resulting in unviable or expensive conditions being imposed upon a licence.

Dwyer Durack can assist you at any stage of a Section 64 Inquiry, including providing advice to attempt to circumvent such proceedings being initiated.

Section 95 Proceedings

The Licensing Authority may also, at it’s own initiative or that of a party with standing (such as the WA Police), initiate formal disciplinary proceedings against a Licensee or a Director of a Licensee in some circumstances.

The Licensing Authority can, at it’s discretion make the following orders against a Licensee:

  • Issue a reprimand;
  • Vary, alter, suspend or even cancel a licence;
  • Issue a monetary penalty (a fine);
  • Disqualify a person from holding a position of authority within a Licensee company (i.e. remove them as a director) for a limited or indefinite period of time.

Section 95 proceedings are extremely serious, and can be heard by either the Licensing Authority, or the Liquor Commission. The effects of a negative finding of a Section 95 Proceedings can be serious, and even threaten the operations of the business in some circumstances.

Our team can help you at every step of the way, from first infringement through to Appeals.

It is important to take investigations and disciplinary investigations seriously, as the effect of an outcome can be devastating to your business. If you have any queries or are unsure about your rights or options with regards to an Investigation or Disciplinary Proceeding, contact Dwyer Durack today.

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