The sale and supply of alcohol to the public requires the seller to have a licence. There are four kinds of licence:
- On-licence (for example, pub, tavern, restaurant, hotel, café, bar) allows the sale or supply of alcohol for consumption on the premises.
- Off-licence (for example, bottle store, grocery store, supermarket) allows the sale or supply of alcohol for consumption off the premises.
- Club licence (for sports clubs) allows the sale or supply of alcohol for consumption on club premises to members of the club.
- Special licence (for an event, i.e. music event, food and wine festival) allows the sale or supply of alcohol to anyone attending a special event.
These licences allow you to sell or supply alcohol from the premises that the licence is issued for. But, what happens when your existing premises is undergoing repairs, alteration, rebuilding or other unforeseen events such as fire, storm or earthquake that prevent the sale of alcohol on your licensed premises? Can you simply move to another premises and start operating?
The answer to these questions is, yes but there is some legal work to complete. You can apply for a temporary licence under s 74 of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012. Section 74 allows licensing committees to authorise licences for alternative premises where the licensed premises are unfit for the sale of alcohol because of, for example: fire; storm; earthquake; other unforeseen events, including repair, alteration, rebuilding or building of additions to the premises; or any other circumstances that will prevent or already prevent the sale of alcohol on the premises. This has the effect of moving the “licensed premises” status from one site to another.
The conditions of the existing licence will still continue to apply. The licensing committee has no express power to impose any new, fresh conditions apart from those conditions already on the existing licence.
Because the temporary licence can only authorise the “licensee to sell alcohol pursuant to the licence”, the temporary licence can’t extend the period of the licence.
Be mindful that a ‘temporary licence’ is different from a ‘temporary authority’. A temporary authority allows a new owner to operate an existing business that already holds an on-licence or off-licence (‘base licence’).The temporary authority allows the new owner to sell and supply alcohol until the licence application for the new business is granted.
There is still an application process for a temporary licence and there is a fee and documentation that will be required.
This article is current as at the date of publication and is only intended to provide general comments about the law. Harkness Henry accepts no responsibility for reliance by any person or organisation on the content of the article. Please contact the author of the article if you require specific advice about how the law applies to you.