The law encourages the community to become involved in applications for licences to sell alcohol. There are two main ways in which to do this, making a formal objection to the application, and by gathering community support (or petitioning).

Making a formal objection, or becoming an objector, means that you officially oppose the granting of that particular licence. You will have the right to speak at the hearing and question the applicant or reporting agencies.

In order to make an objection, you have to have to follow the requirements in the law.

  • Your objection must be in writing and filed with the licensing committee. This must be done within 15 working days from when the first notice about the licence application is published. Often this is in a local newspaper.

  • Have a “greater interest than the public generally”. This might mean you live on the same road as the shop applying for the licence, or be a community organisation nearby. The general rule is that you have to be within 1km of the proposed site or have some other factor that makes you have a greater interest.

  • May only be in relation to the grounds listed in the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act, including:

o   The objects of the Act;

o   Applicant’s suitability;

o   The local alcohol policy (if there is one);

o   Proposed hours for sale of alcohol;

o   Shop layout;

o   If the applicant is involved in the other sales or services from the shop;

o   The effects on the surrounding areas;

o   Staff and systems of the shop; or

o   Anything that the police, medical officer, or licensing inspector may report on.

The Licensing Committee can accept any evidence. This means that they can take into account if there is proof of community opposition. A simple way of showing this is by starting a petition in the community. The petition can be based online, or signatures can be collected by going door to door. Remember to collect enough information from people signing that you can show they live nearby.

Whether you are applying for a licence, or objecting to an application, it is important to understand the most effective way forward. If there are concerns about an application, or you are unsure how to make the best possible application, it is wise to speak with a professional experienced in the area.

Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-priced Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.


Alan Knowsley
Litigation Lawyer