To review decisions, disciplinary matters and matters referred by the director.

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The hearing

The commission may sit at such times and such places as it thinks fit. It may:

  • arrange a hearing of the matter where parties to the proceedings will make oral submissions to the commission; or
  • may choose to exercise in Chambers any jurisdiction of the commission (except when hearing an application for review of a new licence or the removal of a licence, where an objection is lodged and not withdrawn.)
  • appoint counsel to argue or make representations as to any matter before the commission or an independent expert to enquire into a report upon any question of fact or opinion not involving a question of law.

The procedure of the commission shall be determined when any application or matter is before it and advice will be sent in writing.

The commissions proceedings will be held in private unless the commission considers that, in the circumstances of the case, the hearing should be held in public.

The commission may on application by a party, or of it's own initiative order that separate proceedings may be heard together.

In Perth, the commission sits at the:
State Administrative Tribunal 

6/565 Hay Street, Perth WA 6000

The commission may, depending on the circumstances of the case, travel to regional locations in order to hear proceedings.

The Director may intervene in any proceedings before the commission, including proceedings relating to a decision or determination made by the Director, and may introduce evidence, make representations and examine or cross-examine any witness, on any question or matter.


A party to proceedings may appear:

  • personally; 
  • by counsel;
  • if the party is a member of an association which the licensing authority recognises as having been formed to promote or protect the interests of a section of the liquor industry, or of employees in the liquor industry – by an officer or employee of that association;
  • if the party is a body corporate – by an officer or employee of the body corporate who has obtained leave of the commission to appear on its behalf; or
  • by any other person approved by the commission.
The Commissioner of Police may be represented before the commission by a member of the WA Police Force, and where a member of the WA Police Force purports in any proceedings to represent the Commissioner of Police that person shall be deemed, in the absence of proof to the contrary, to have been authorised by the Commissioner of Police so to do.


The commission when considering the matter will act speedily and with as little formality and technicality as is practicable. Will act according to good equity, good conscience and the substantial merits of the case without regard to technicalities and legal forms.

  • May appoint counsel to argue or make representations as to any matter before it or an independent expert to inquire into a report upon any question of fact or opinion not involving a question of law. 
  • The commission may obtain information as to any question that arises for decision in such manner as it thinks fit; and make its determination on the balance of probabilities.
  • Each party to the proceedings before will be given a reasonable opportunity to present its case and, in particular, to inspect any documents to which the licensing authority proposes to have regard in making a determination in the proceedings and to make submissions in relation to those documents.
  • The commission may however, consider whether publication or disclosure, to some or all of the parties, of evidence given before them or of a matter contained in a document lodged with the commission or received in evidence by the commission, shall be prohibited or restricted.
  • It shall take as the basis of its consideration the principle that it is desirable that evidence given before the commission and the contents of documents lodged or received in evidence should be made available to all the parties but shall pay due regard to any reasons given to the licensing authority why the publication or disclosure of the evidence or the matter contained in the document should be prohibited or restricted.
  • An infringement notice given under section 167 to the employee or agent of a licensee may be used as evidence in respect of a complaint lodged under this section with respect to that licensee.
  • It is not a defence to a complaint lodged under this section against a licensee to show that the licensee:
    • did not know, or could not reasonably have been aware of or have prevented the act or omission which gave rise to;
    • the complaint; or
    • had taken reasonable steps to prevent that act or omission from taking place.
  • The Evidence Act 1906 does not apply to the proceedings of the commission and is not bound by the rules of evidence or any practices or procedures applicable to courts of record.
  • May, upon its own motion or upon the application of any party, adjourn the hearing or further hearing of any application or matter from time to time either to the same place or to any other place; and may consider and dismiss or determine applications, and receive submissions and representations in relation to any application before it, as it thinks fit.
  • When a case stated is pending which may affect any liability or assessment and the amount payable may be recovered as if no reviews, appeal or case stated were pending. If a liability or assessment is altered in consequence of a review, appeal or case stated, a due adjustment shall be made, for which purpose amounts paid in excess shall be refunded together with interest paid at the rate prescribed and amounts short paid shall be recoverable.

Powers with respect to witnesses and evidence

Extract from section 18 of the Liquor Control Act 1988.

  1. The licensing authority may —
    1. by summons require any person to attend before the licensing authority at a time and place specified in the summons for the purpose of giving evidence relevant to any application or matter before the licensing authority;
    2. by summons require the production of records;
    3. inspect records produced before it, and take copies of, or extracts from, them;
    4. require any person who is a party to or concerned in the proceedings to take an oath or affirmation or provide a statutory declaration verifying evidence given, or to be given, to the licensing authority; and
    5. require any person appearing before it to answer a question put to that person by the licensing authority or by some other person appearing before the licensing authority.
  2. A summons under subsection (1) may be issued, whether on the application of any party to proceedings before the licensing authority or on its own motion, on behalf of the licensing authority —
    1. where the matter is to be determined by the commission, by a member; or
    2. where the matter is to be determined by the Director, by the Director or a person authorised by the Director under section 15.
  3. Any person who —
    1. a. being an officer of the licensing authority, is for the time being so authorised by the chairperson or the Director;
    2. is a Justice of the Peace; or
    3. is a person prescribed, by rules of the commission or the regulations, for the purposes of this subsection,
may take and administer oaths and affirmations in, or for the purposes of, any application or matter that is being or is to be determined by the licensing authority


Extract from s20 of the Liquor Control Act 1988.

  1. Where –
    1. at, or on the way to or from, a hearing by the licensing authority —
      1. a member, the Director or any other officer of the licensing authority is wilfully insulted by any person; or
      2. a person hinders, obstructs, threatens or assaults any such officer, or any party or witness;
    2. a person wilfully interrupts the proceedings of the licensing authority; or
    3. in relation to proceedings before the licensing authority, a person —
      1. does any other act or thing; or
      2. refuses or neglects to do any act or thing,
        in respect to those proceedings which, had that conduct occurred in respect to proceedings of the District Court, would have rendered that person liable to apprehension under section 63 of the District Court of Western Australia Act 1969,
      the chairperson may report the matter to the District Court, and the District Court has jurisdiction to deal with the matter as if it were a contempt of the District Court.
    1a. If subsection (1) applies to an act or omission by a person and that act or omission is also an offence under this Act, the person is not liable to be punished twice
  2. Effect shall be given to subsection (1) in relation to any hearing or proceedings before the licensing authority, however constituted.
  3. A person who —
    1. having been served with a summons to attend before the commission fails, without reasonable excuse, to attend in obedience to the summons;
    2. having been served with a summons to produce records to the commission fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with the summons; or
    3. refuses to be sworn or to affirm, or to answer a relevant question, when required to do so by a member, commits an offence. Penalty: $5000. 
  4. Commitment or a fine under this section —
    1. does not exempt a person from obeying any summons to appear before the commission, to answer any relevant question or to produce any records; or
    2. prejudice any proceedings taken or to be taken under section 158.

Party to proceedings

Pursuant to section 25 (6) a party to proceedings is a person who:

  • lodged an objection to an application, and did not withdraw it, whether or not the objection was heard
  • is the transferor of a licence relating to the transfer of the licence
  • is a person who held a licence which was cancelled under section 93 relating to its cancellation under that section.

Pursuant to section 69 (13) a person who intervenes in any proceeding may, unless the licensing authority certifies that that person has no interest in the application other than that of providing argument or fact to enable the licensing authority to reach an informed decision, be held on any appeal to have thereby become a party to the proceedings; and may be made a respondent to any appeal.


In accordance with Section 9M of the Liquor Control Act 1988:

  • A member of the Liquor Commission has, in the performance of his or her functions as member, the same protection and immunity as a judge of the Supreme Court has in the performance of his or her duties as a judge.
  • A person representing a party in proceedings in the commission has the same protection and immunity as a legal practitioner has in representing a party in proceedings in the Supreme Court.
  • A party to proceedings in the commission has the same protection and immunity as a party to proceedings in the Supreme Court.
  • A person appearing as a witness before the commission has the same protection and immunity as a witness has in proceedings in the Supreme Court.
Page reviewed 23 October 2023