Determination of complaints
Once a complaint has been lodged with the licensing authority, in the first instance, an attempt will be made to resolve the issues of the complaint in respect to noise and behaviour with the licensee and the complainant through conciliation or negotiation. However, if the complaint cannot be resolved through conciliation or negotiation, the Director may determine the matter.
If during a conciliation conference the parties reach agreement on the outcome of a complaint and the licensing authority is satisfied that a decision in the agreed terms is lawful, the licensing authority should have regard to the terms reached and may make a decision varying the conditions of licence in a manner that is consistent with those terms.
Similarly, where conciliation or negotiation of the complaint can not be reached, the licensing authority may, by notice in writing, require the licensee to show cause why an order should not be made in relation to the complaint. Alternatively, the licensing authority may call a hearing which both the licensee and the complainant(s) will attend. Each party will be given the opportunity to outline their case and the Director will consider the merits of the information provided.
When determining a complaint, the Director may have regard to:
- any alteration, including any structural change, made:
- to the licensed premises; or
- to any relevant premises where the complainant (or the complainant’s child) resides, works, worships, attends or is a patient;
- any changes that have taken place over time to the activities occurring on the licensed premises; and
- the kind of business conducted under the licence and how that business is managed; and
- whether the complainant or complainant’s child began to reside, work, worship, attend or be a patient at any relevant premises before or after the licensee began to conduct business at the licensed premises; and
- any provision of the Environmental Protection Act 1986, or of any regulations made under the Act, that is relevant to the subject matter of the complaint.
Parties may have legal representation, however it is not a requirement and no costs can be awarded against the parties.
Whether pursuant to conciliation or negotiation or by way of an order, the Director may:
- vary the existing conditions of the licence;
- redefine, or redesignate a part of, the licensed premises;
- prohibit the licensee from providing entertainment or any other activity of a kind specified by the Director during a period specified by the Director or otherwise than in circumstances specified by the Director, and impose that prohibition as a condition to which the licence is to be subject; or
- otherwise deal with the matter in such a manner as is likely, in the opinion of the Director, to resolve the subject matter of the complaint.