Special Licences

To sell alcohol at events and occasions, you need to apply for a special licence. 

Examples of situations when you’ll need a special licence to sell or supply alcohol include:

  • festivals
  • concerts
  • sporting events
  • bus trips
  • ticketed events
  • functions in public venue where public access is not restricted

You do not need a special licence when:

  • you are supplying liquor to your guests in your own private residence
  • your guests are bringing liquor to your own private residence
  • you are holding a genuine private social gathering in a public facility such as a hall and you are supplying liquor to your guests, as long as the public is not able to access the event


Special licences are required to be considered by the medical officer of health, the police and licensing inspectors.

The application must be filed at least 20 working days before the event ,however people should file the application even earlier to help ensure it is processed in time.

Applications can be considered in less than 20 working days if the event is unexpected (for example, a funeral). The DLC will decide if the event could have been foreseen.

Download an application for a special licence here [PDF, 459 KB]

Special licences for summer events

If you’re holding an event this holiday season that requires a special alcohol licence, make sure you apply as soon as possible or it may not be processed in time. If you’re organising a party this Christmas and New Year and you’re selling or supplying alcohol, you may need a special licence unless your caterer holds an alcohol licence for events.

Applications for a special licence must be lodged at least 20 working days before the event is held (although exceptions may be made for unforseen events). Please remember that working days do not include weekend, statutory holidays or any day from 20 December 2016 – 15 January 2017.

 Special licence application deadlines are as follows:

  • December event – apply by 3 November 2017
  • January 2018 event – apply by 24 November 2017
  • February 2018 event – apply by 8 December 2017

Special licence fees

In most cases, the fee depends on the size and number of events covered by the special licence.

For more information please see our forms & fees page