Effective date: 7 May 2007Last amended: 19 December 2018Next review: December 2020
This policy is designed to provide information in regard to the subject matter covered, and with the understanding that the Director of Liquor Licensing is not passing legal opinion or interpretation or other professional advice. The information is provided
on the understanding that all persons undertake responsibility for assessing the relevance and accuracy of its contents.
This policy provides guidance as to the legislative and operational requirements associated with complaints lodged under section 117 of the Liquor Control Act 1988 (“the Act”).
Section 117 of the Act provides that a complaint may be lodged in writing with the Director of Liquor Licensing alleging that:
This document provides guidance as to the process that will be followed in proceedings before the Director under section 117 of the Act.
In any proceedings held under the Act, the licensing authority is required to act without undue formality and is not bound by the rules of evidence. However, it may obtain information in any manner in order to make a decision, having regard to the objects
of the Act.
Section 117 of the Act provides that a complaint may be lodged by:
When the complaint is initially lodged with the licensing authority, the Director will give a copy of the complaint to the licensee.
The Director will then attempt to settle the matter by conciliation or negotiation. This process involves a Department Inspector investigating the complaint to establish the circumstances and validity of the complaint and its grounds. The inspector will assist the parties to negotiate and conciliate to reach an agreement to resolve the complaint. It is important that all of the parties make every effort to settle the complaint by way of conciliation or negotiation.
If the matter cannot be settled by conciliation or negotiation, the Director is to give the complainant, the licensee, and any other person who has a relevant interest in the matter, an opportunity to be heard or to make submissions.
Where the Director is of the opinion that the complaint is established on the balance of probabilities, and the licensee has failed to show cause why an order should not be made, the Director may make an order in accordance with section 117(5) of the Act, but otherwise shall dismiss the complaint.
In determining the complaint, the Director may have regard to, but is not limited to, the following factors:
Section 117(4b) entitles the Director to:
If a complaint is successfully made out, section 117(5) empowers the Director to:
For information on the conduct of hearings before the Director, please refer to the Director’s policy Proceedings before the Director of Liquor Licensing, a copy of which can be obtained from the department’s website or by contacting the department on +61 8 6551 4888.
However, there may be occasions when a party or parties to the complaint are not prepared to engage in conciliation of the complaint. In this case, the party so inclined will be asked to write to the Director outlining their position and demonstrating why their complaint should proceed.
It should be noted that the Act allows the Director to determine that a complaint is frivolous or vexatious and in such cases, the Director may dismiss the complaint.
Do not submit enquiries with this form.