Special Circumstances Licence


Special Circumstances Licence


A special circumstances licence authorises the licensee to sell liquor for consumption on or off the licensed premises in accordance with the terms and conditions of the licence. For more information about variations see:

An application for a special circumstances licence can be made when no other class of licence suits the proposed style of business with or without an Extended trading authorisation and the proposed business would be substantially prejudiced if the applicant’s trading rights were limited to those under some other class of licence Some examples of premises or activities covered by special circumstances licences include:

  • billiard, pool or snooker halls
  • limousines
  • buses
  • boats and vessels
  • caterers
  • function rooms.

An application for a special circumstances licence must include proposed operating conditions (eg consumption on the premises, consumption off the premises).

Trading hours

A special circumstances licence allows the licensee to trade as follows:

  • On any day (other than a Sunday) between 5 am and midnight
  • On a Sunday between 11 am and 8 pm

Extended trading authorisation (ETA)

If a licensee wishes to trade outside of the standard trading hours they may apply for an extended trading authorisation (PDF 82KB) as follows:

  • on any day (other than a Sunday, Good Friday, the day after Good Friday, Christmas Day or the day after Christmas Day) between midnight and 5 am
  • on a Sunday (not being Christmas Day or the day after Christmas Day) between midnight and 11 am and between 8 pm and midnight
  • on Good Friday between midnight and 2 am
  • on Christmas Day between midnight and 2 am
  • if Christmas Day or the day after Christmas Day is a Sunday, on that Sunday between 8 pm and midnight

Generally trading hours under a special circumstances licence may be a combination of standard trading hours and extended trading hours depending on the type of business operating under the licence. The trading hours sought must be appropriate for the type of business, and must be justified by the applicant.

Conditions (examples)

The types of conditions that are likely to be imposed against a special circumstances licence include:

Charter boats

To sell liquor for consumption on or adjacent to the licensed premises (provided that the passengers have purchased a ticket for a cruise and are always under the supervision and control of the captain/responsible person of the subject vessel) on any day at any time (except Good Friday)

Limousine companies/buses

There shall be no liquor in the vehicle except in the boot storage area whilst a minor is in the vehicle unless the minor is in the company of an adult guardian, or an adult spouse of the driver.  A guardian in relation to a minor means a parent including a step-parent or legal guardian of the minor.

Catering businesses

Under section 40(1) of the Liquor Licensing Act 1997 the licensee is authorised to sell liquor on the licensed premises for consumption at places other than the licensed premises but only at pre-booked functions and with or ancillary to food provided by the licensee.


An applicant for a special circumstances licence must satisfy the licensing authority that:

  • A licence of no other category (with or without an extended trading authorisation) could adequately cover the kind of business proposed by the applicant
  • The proposed business would be substantially prejudiced if the applicant’s trading rights were limited to those possible under a licence of some other category

Consumer and Business Services must be satisfied that the premises are suitable to be licensed. For example, the premises must have sufficient toilet facilities for patrons and comply with other building regulations and planning approvals.

The applicant must also show that the operation of the licence would not cause undue offence, annoyance, disturbance, or inconvenience to those who work, worship, or reside in the area or that the safety or welfare of children attending kindergarten or school in the vicinity of the proposed licensed premises would not be prejudiced.

Applicants need to satisfy the licensing authority that they are fit and proper persons to hold a licence and will need to complete a Personal Information Declarations (PID). Relevant knowledge, skills and experience, the results of a police check and creditworthiness will be taken into consideration.


If an application is made for a special circumstances licence where the proposed premises are incomplete the licensing authority may grant a ‘Certificate’ subject to any conditions considered appropriate.  The licensing authority will grant the special circumstances licence once the applicant can satisfy the authority that the conditions have been met and the premises have been completed in accordance with the plans lodged.

The applicant

When lodging an application all the people involved in the business, for example, all partners, must be included on the application.

  • If the business is a company the application should be made in the company name.
  • Where an individual runs the business, the individual is the applicant.

All documentation such as leases and finance agreements must be in the name of the applicant.

How to apply

Applicants may wish to contact a solicitor or relevant industry association before making an application.

  • All the relevant forms and other documentation will need to be lodged meeting the minimum requirements when making an application.
  • Once the minimum requirements and documents have been received by Consumer and Business Services, applicants will be informed of the hearing date for the application.

Lodgement guide – information on making an application for a liquor licence

For more information about applying for variations special circumstances licence see: