This section provides:
- Completed applications, in the prescribed form, are sent to the relevant District Licensing Committee for processing.
- Enquiries are made into each application by the Licensing Inspector, Police and Medical Officer of Health (or the MOH's s.151 delegate). The Police and the Medical Officer of Health must enquire into every application but must only submit a report to the District Licensing Committee if they have any opposition.
- The Licensing Inspector must enquire into, and file a report with the District Licensing Committee on every application. Typically the Inspector collates the reports from each agency (where applicable) and submits a report to the District Licensing Committee providing an assessment of the application criteria and a summary of the views of the Police and the Medical Officer of Health.
- The District Licensing Committee makes a determination, which could be on the papers or at a public hearing. This can be appealed to the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority, and subsequently to the High Court.
An applicant must meet the legal requirements for holding a licence, as presented in s.28 [Who can hold on-licences, off-licences, and special licences]. The licence must also be considered in accordance with the factors set out in s.105 and 106 [Criteria for issue of licences].
Police, Medical Officers of Health (and their delegates), and Licensing Inspectors should all be familiar with s.105 and 106. These criteria provide the basis on which a licence is granted and signal to applicants and regulatory agencies the types of issues being addressed through licence enquiries.
When writing any report, making any decision, and writing any decision, District Licensing Committees and reporting agencies involved in the administration of the Act must ask themselves the following four questions:
- Is my report, proposed action, proposed decision for the benefit of the community as a whole (that is the community that will be affected by the application) – in accordance with s.3(1)?
- Will it help to achieve the safe and responsible sale, supply, and consumption of alcohol – in accordance with sections 3(1)(b) and 3(2)(b) and 4(1)(a)?
- Will it help to achieve the minimisation of alcohol-related harm – in accordance with sections 3(1)(b) and 3(2)(b) and 4(1)(b)? [alcohol-related harm is defined in s.5 and is the same as s.4(2)(a) and (b)]
- Is it reasonable? In accordance with s.3(2)(a)?
The answers must all be affirmative as the Act must be administered consistently with its purpose and object.
Hints and tips
This was the first ARLA case that considered s.105. Although it was an application for an off-licence, the Authority guidance in paragraphs - apply generally to on-licence applications as well.