Alcohol licensing and hearings: a guide for regulatory agencies

Introduction to this guide

This guide is for:

  • Licensing inspectors from local government
  • New Zealand Police
  • Medical Officers of Health or their delegate.

If you work in one of these roles you may need to appear before a District Licensing Committee (DLC) on an application for an alcohol licence or manager’s certificate.


The guide will support you to:

  • understand your roles and responsibilities
  • increase your confidence and skills
  • prepare for, and participate in, DLC hearings
  • give effect to the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act.


What this guide covers

This guide is in two parts:

Part 1 – The foundations of best practice

Part 2 – The steps in the licensing process


Part 1 sets out important information that will lay the foundations of best practice. It covers six areas:

  1. The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012
  2. Gathering and using information and evidence
  3. Developing the theory of a case
  4. Natural justice
  5. Case law
  6. Conflicts of interest


Part 2 covers the five steps in the licensing process as they apply to regulatory agencies. The steps are:

  1. Inquiring into the application
  2. Report writing
  3. Hearing preparation
  4. The hearing and the decision
  5. Appeals to ARLA


There is detailed information and a toolbox of resources for each of these steps.

Part 2 of the guide sets out legal requirements for regulatory agencies under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 and best practice guidance.


How to use this guide

If you are new to this work, we suggest you work through the guide starting with Part 1 and the introduction to the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012.

If you have more experience, you can go straight to the part of the guide most relevant to you. You do not have to read the guide from beginning to end. Nor do you have to read Part 1 before Part 2. You can jump in and out of the guide in a way that is most helpful to you.