Traditionally, the classes of liquor licence known as Taverns, Hotels and Nightclubs have been considered “High Risk Licences”. Such licences have typically been associated with more stringent application requirements, and significant public interest submissions, evidence and a demonstrated requirement for the Venue required to be established at the time of Application.

Tavern and Hotel Licences can either be “Restricted” or “Unrestricted”. A Hotel (Restricted) or Tavern (Restricted) Licence permit the sale of liquor for on-premises consumption only.  If you are seeking to also sell take-away liquor (also known as packaged liquor) as part of your business model, you will need to lodge an application for an unrestricted licence.

Each class of licence provides for a different method of trade. Which class of licence you apply for will be based upon how and when you wish to operate your Venue. Our lawyers can assist you to identify the most appropriate licence for your requirements.


A Tavern Licence authorises the sale and supply of liquor for consumption on and off the licensed premises (unless Restricted). A holder of a tavern licence does not need to provide accommodation.


A Hotel Licence permits a Venue to sell and supply liquor, for consumption on and off the licensed premises (unless Restricted). A Hotel must provide accommodation.


A nightclub licence is subject to the condition that liquor may only be sold ancillary to continuous live entertainment provided by one of more artists present in person performing there, or by way of recorded music presented by a DJ.

Permitted hours of trade are from 6pm until 5am the following day Monday – Saturday, or Sunday 8pm – 2am the next day.

Because of the “high risk” nature of these categories of licence, the benefits of a strong, comprehensive Application with plenty of evidence in support of the legislative criteria and consumer requirement evidence cannot be understated.

Contact our office today to discuss your new venue.

Frequently Asked Questions

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 been received notice of any alleged breach of the Liquor Control Actcontact our office to discuss today.

Need Advice?

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