2.5 Appeals to ARLA

After any hearing, there is the possibility of an appeal. This section provides information on the appeal process and the body that deals with appeals of District Licensing Committee (DLC) decisions.

Snapshot of this section

The Alcohol Regulatory Licensing Authority (ARLA) is the overarching national body set up to ensure that the SSAA is fairly applied.

Any party to a hearing can lodge an appeal to ARLA within 10 days of receiving the DLC’s decision.

Inspectors, Police and Medical Officers of Health do not have to pay to lodge an appeal with ARLA.

ARLA hearings are similar to DLC hearings, but are generally more formal as they are run by a District Court Judge. 

Any party in a proceeding may appeal the decision of the Authority to the High Court.  If you want to appeal a decision of the Authority, the appeal must be made to the High Court within 10 working days after notice of the decision has been given to you.

Go to toolbox

 

This step covers: 

Legal requirements: what the Act says

Best practice guidance

  1. DLC decisions can be appealed
  2. What is ARLA?
  3. Membership of ARLA
  4. ARLA as a Commission of Inquiry
  5. ARLA practice direction and statements
  6. How are ARLA hearings run?
  7. ARLA’s decisions
  8. Can you appeal a decision of ARLA?

 

Legal requirements for Step 5- what the Act says
Who may appeal?

Any party involved in the hearing has the right to appeal to the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority (ARLA) if they are dissatisfied with the decision or any part of the decision (s 154).

Procedures for appeal

An appeal must be lodged with ARLA within 10 working days after the district licensing committee (DLC) decision is supplied to the aggrieved party, although ARLA may extend this time period where there is reasonable cause for failure to meet the deadline (ss 155(1) and (2)).  

The notice of appeal must be in writing, be sent to the secretary of ARLA, and specify the grounds for appeal in sufficient detail to fully inform ARLA and the parties of the issues in the appeal (s 155(3)). 

The appellant must provide a notice of appeal to the secretary of the DLC and to the other parties to the DLC hearing (s 153(5)).  

As soon as possible after receiving the notice of appeal the DLC secretary must send the ARLA secretary any relevant information or exhibits relating to the case, as well as a copy of the decision (s 155(6)). This will comprise a copy of the complete DLC file. It will assist the Authority and the parties to the appeal, if it is:

  • Paginated (has numbered pages)
  • Chronological – that is to say, it starts with the complete Agenda papers (application, supporting papers, agency reports, objections, pre-hearing matters), followed by opening submissions, statements of evidence, exhibits, closing submissions, and a transcription of the hearing.
  • Documents produced to the DLC in colour should be transmitted to ARLA in colour.
  • Where there is a full transcription of the hearing it is not necessary for Members’ personal notes taken during the hearing to be transmitted to ARLA, but where there are gaps in the transcription this is most important.
  • As DLC deliberations are conducted in private it is not appropriate to send to ARLA the notes of the Members’ deliberations.

ARLA will also require a typed transcript of the hearing and the notes (if any) of the committee members.

Appeals to higher courts

If the application was first considered by a DLC, the first appeal right is to ARLA. ARLA decisions can be appealed to the High Court and then, if leave is granted, to the Court of Appeal.

The toolbox sets out the sections of the Act that are relevant to this step.

 

Best practice guidance for Step 5

2.5.1       DLC decisions can be appealed

Any party in the hearing has the right to appeal to the ARLA if they are dissatisfied with the decision or any part of the decision.

In some situations, the DLC’s decision will be suspended pending the outcome of the appeal. This means that the licence can't be used until the appeal is resolved.  However, where the application is for a renewal the current licence continues until the outcome of the appeal.

An appeal must be lodged with ARLA within 10 working days after the DLC decision is supplied.

The appellant must submit a notice of appeal to ARLA and provide a copy to the Secretary of the DLC and the other parties to the hearing. 

Police, inspectors and the Medical Officer of Health are not required to pay a fee.

If the application was first considered by a DLC, the first appeal right is to ARLA. ARLA decisions can be appealed to the High Court and then, if leave is granted, to the Court of Appeal.

 

2.5.2       What is ARLA?

ARLA is the overarching national body set up to ensure that the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 is fairly applied. Its functions are to:

  • determine applications for new and renewed licences and manager's certificates that have been referred to it by DLCs
  • determine appeals against
    • decisions of DLCs
    • draft local alcohol policies
  • give direction or statements to DLCs
  • advise people of the appropriate DLC to go to
  • refer matters to DLCs for inquiry and report
  • determine enforcement applications – variation, suspension or cancellation of licences and manager's certificates
  • perform any other functions conferred on it by any Act.

 

2.5.3       Membership of ARLA

ARLA can consist of up to three District Court Judges (one of whom is the chairperson) and any number of other members. Members are normally appointed for a term of up to five years. At present, the ARLA comprises a chairperson (who is a District Court Judge) and three members.

 

2.5.4       ARLA as a Commission of Inquiry

ARLA has the powers of a commission of inquiry under the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1908. A commission of inquiry is an inquisitorial system rather than an adversarial one. An inquisitorial system is a legal system where the court is actively involved in investigating the facts of the case. This is different from an adversarial system, where the role of the court is primarily that of an impartial referee between the parties. ARLA can summon witnesses, require documentation, and award costs (to a limited extent).

 

2.5.5       ARLA practice directions and statements

ARLA may issue practice directions or statements (which include notes, guidance or suggestions). They set out ARLA’s views on the general administration of the Act or policies to be followed in the administration of the Act.

ARLA will make it clear within each direction, statement or note whether its advice must be followed by DLCs and regulatory agencies or if it is more for information.

Notes and guidelines from ARLA are set out on the Ministry of Justice website. They cover topics such as:

  • the procedure for considering and determining temporary authorities
  • provisional local alcohol policies
  • caterers' licences
  • single area alcohol displays
  • licence renewals.

 

2.5.6       How are ARLA hearings run?

ARLA hearings are similar to DLC hearings, but generally more formal, as they are run by a District Court Judge.

All parties or their legal representatives can appear and speak at the hearing. They can also call, examine and cross-examine witnesses. Parties to an application or appeal may be represented by an agent if ARLA gives approval beforehand.

During a hearing, the person applying for a licence or manager’s certificate will make their submissions and give their evidence first. Or, where the hearing is an appeal, the appellant will proceed first.

You should provide typed submissions, and copies of any supporting documents, to the Authority and all other parties on the day of the hearing.

ARLA will give its decision orally and/or in writing after the hearing.

 

2.5.7       ARLA’s decisions

ARLA will deal with an appeal ‘on the papers’ or call a hearing to hear from the parties. ARLA can:

  • confirm the decision of the DLC
  • modify the decision of the DLC
  • reverse the decision of the DLC
  • refer the matter back to the DLC to consider it again (with some guidance on particular issues). 

Generally, the DLC is not represented at the appeal hearing. ARLA hears from the appellant and may have some questions of the objectors and agencies who gave evidence. ARLA will be looking to ensure that the appellant was dealt with fairly and that the conclusion reached by the DLC was available to it based on the evidence produced. 

2.5.8       Can you appeal a decision of the Authority?

Any party in a proceeding may appeal the decision of the Authority to the High Court. If you want to appeal a decision of the Authority, the appeal must be made to the High Court within 10 working days after notice of the decision has been given to you.

Toolbox

Visit the Ministry of Justice website for more information on ARLA and the appeals process

The New Zealand Legal Information Institute has case law online, including in its databases for Liquor Licensing Authority decisions up until 21 December 2012 and Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority decisions from 2013

                           

Step 5 – Appeals to ARLA

Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 references

154-158        Appeals to licensing authority

159-167        Appeals to High Court

168               Further appeal to Court of Appeal