You must register your private members’ club if you intend to supply, consume or keep for supply any alcohol on your premises.
You must also register if you intend to allow members to bring their own alcohol onto your premises for consumption.
How to apply
You can obtain a grant of registration from the County Court. You can only register your club if the business and other affairs are conducted by an elected committee of a secretary, treasurer and at least five ordinary members.
Your club must meet the qualifying criteria for registration to be granted.
You must hold yearly elections to decide committee members and display names and addresses of any persons who wish to be elected as ordinary members at least 1 week before the election. All members of the club must have a vote in the election process.
The committee must also hold regular meetings on the running of the club.
You must not allow people to become honorary members of the club unless they have specific qualifications.
There must be a defined annual subscription payable by members, and you must keep an alphabetical list of the names and addresses of every member of the club.
Before you can apply for registration, the secretary must serve notice of your intention on the chief clerk of the court where you will make your application. This must be done at least 1 year before the application is made. The secretary must also send a copy of the notice to the local police sub-divisional commander and your district council.
Between 4 and 8 weeks before the application is made, the secretary must advertise the application in at least 2 newspapers in the area. 4 weeks before the application is made, serve notice of the application again to the chief clerk, sub-divisional commander and district council as before. You must also display the notice outside your premises at this time.
There will be a hearing in the County Court to determine the outcome of your application. The court may request further information to inform their decision, and will consider representations made by other parties.
Your application will only be accepted if you meet all of the following criteria:
- you have adhered to the registration process
- your club meets the qualifying criteria above
- the premises are considered suitable and proper
- the club’s rules are satisfactory and observed
- the club is conducted in good faith for at least 1 year
- none of the officials have unspent convictions
The court must be satisfied that there are not sufficient clubs of a similar character in the vicinity of the applicant club.
If you are applying for a nightworkers club, you must be able to show that the members of the club require these opening hours, and that guests are not allowed to enter between the hours of midnight and 10am each day.
If your application is successful, you will be issued with a certificate of registration. Details will also be entered on the register of clubs.
Your certificate lasts for 5 years or until the end of the current registration period, whichever is the sooner.
You must meet obligations relating to:
- opening hours
- club and members’ conduct
- inspections and rights of entry by police
You must follow the process as for a new registration, although you do not need to notify the court 1 year in advance. The renewal date for registration is 1 March of the year your registration is due to expire.