All opposed alcohol licensing applications must be heard by the District Licensing Committee at a public hearing.
A District Licensing Committee hearing is a formal process like a court hearing. The District Licensing Committee Chairperson and two appointed District Licensing Committee members hear the application.
Hearings are reasonably formal so that applications are dealt with consistently and fairly. All parties are given an equal opportunity to present their views.
Hearings are usually held at:
Far North District Council Chambers
District Licensing Committee hearings are open to the public, including members of the press.
On occasion, it may be necessary to exclude the public from some parts of a hearing (for example when the Committee feels the privacy of an individual needs to be protected).
The usual procedure for a District Licensing Committee hearing is as follows:
Step 1: Welcome and Introduction
The Chairperson introduces the committee members and briefly outlines the procedure for the hearing.
The Chairperson also confirms that the committee members don’t have any conflicts of interest and are able to consider the application impartially.
Step 2: Application and Correspondence
The applicant presents his/her case either personally or through a representative, legal counsel or consultants. They may call witnesses in support of the application.
The applicant and all witnesses will be required to take either an oath on the Bible or an affirmation.
The committee members and reporting agencies (Police, Medical Officer of Health and Licensing Inspector) cross question the applicant and the witnesses.
Step 3: Submissions
Reporting agencies (Police, Fire Service, Medical Officer of Health and Licensing Inspector etc.) are sworn and then called upon to speak, make their submissions or present evidence.
The applicant and objectors may also ask them questions when it’s their turn to cross-examine.
Step 4: Objector's Statement
Objectors cannot introduce new grounds for objecting, but can present evidence to support their reasons for objecting.
The committee members, chairperson and the reporting agencies can ask questions about the evidence.
Step 5: Applicant's Statement / Evidence
The applicant or representative has the right to summarise the application and reply to matters raised by objections.
Committee members may ask further questions at this stage.
Step 6: Closure of Hearing
After hearing is closed, non-members (the applicant, objectors and their representatives) leave the room.
The District Licensing Committee will then deliberate and will release its decision in writing in due course.