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Ejecting and banning patrons

Everyone has a right to enjoy safe and responsible drinking environments and the Liquor Act 2007 provides powers to venues and police to eject and ban patrons who compromise that environment.

There are a number of ways that licensees can deal with patrons who may be disruptive, violent, intoxicated, or fail to adhere to venue rules and policies.

The escalation approach available to licensees includes:

  1. refusing entry or removing a person at the time of an incident
  2. barring the person from the venue for an extended period of time
  3. barring the person from multiple venues for an extended period of time
  4. seeking a formal banning order against the person.

Everybody has an implied common law licence to enter and remain at a licensed venue. Licensees also have the right to revoke a person’s licence for any reason as long as doing so is not discriminatory.

Licensees can display a sign near the entrance to their venue to the effect of:

This venue has the right to refuse entry to any person, or to withdraw any person’s permission to remain on the premises at any time.

If a patron refuses to comply with a request under common law to leave a venue, they are committing an offence under the Inclosed Lands Protection Act 1901, and could also be exposed to civil liability for trespass.

Dress codes

Many venues have dress codes to ensure a minimum standard of clothing is worn. Such codes normally reflect the nature of the venue in an attempt to set the tone and comfort of a venue and ensure their customer’s safety. Examples include: banning certain styles or conditions of clothing like thongs, singlets or dirty or torn clothing.

Discrimination should be considered and similar standards for men and women should be applied equally.

Restrictions on gang-related clothing is a form of dress code that has successfully been adopted by venues and local liquor accords throughout NSW. A benefit of adopting the strategy through a liquor accord is that it is a united and consistent approach that deflects the decision away from individual licensees.

Venues in the Sydney CBD and Kings Cross precincts must not allow any person to enter, or remain in the venue if the person is wearing or carrying any clothing, jewellery or accessories relating to certain outlaw motorcycle-related groups or similar organisations.

Generally, a licensed venue may refuse entry or eject a patron if they are:

  • intoxicated
  • violent, argumentative, or disorderly
  • smoking in a smoke-free area
  • using, or possess, any substance suspected of being an illicit drug
  • whose presence causes the licensee to become liable to a penalty under the liquor laws.

A person who has been refused entry or ejected from a licensed venue must:

  • leave the venue
  • not remain in the vicinity of the venue (i.e. not within 50 metres of the venue), without reasonable excuse
  • not re-enter the vicinity of the venue for 6 hours, without reasonable excuse
  • not attempt to re-enter or re-enter the venue for 24 hours.

A person has a reasonable excuse for remaining in, or re-entering, the vicinity of the venue if that person is obtaining transport, resides in the vicinity, or if they fear for their safety.

When ejecting a person, staff should inform the patron that:

  • They are required by law to move more than 50 metres away from the venue
  • They must not re-enter the 50 metre vicinity within 6 hours
  • They cannot return to the venue for at least 24 hours
  • If they fail to comply, they will commit an offence. A maximum fine of $5,500 applies.

Managers should record the incident in the venue’s incident register as soon as possible.

If a patron has been removed or refused entry and the reason for removing the patron continues, licensees can escalate to:

  • bar the customer for an extended period
  • bar the customer from multiple venues for an extended period of time
  • seek a formal banning order against them.

It is advantageous to be a member of your local liquor accord. The benefit of developing strategies through a local liquor accord is that it sets a consistent approach for all venues in the accord to follow. This helps patrons understand the expectations from all venues in an area, making it easier for them to comply.

Barring a patron

In order for licensees to influence patron behaviour they need to:

  • establish clear guidelines for acceptable and unacceptable behaviour
  • determine the consequences of unacceptable behaviour - i.e. barring terms
  • communicate these clearly to patrons
  • apply them resolutely and consistently.

The benefits of a barring strategy are:

  • it sends a strong message to potentially troublesome customers
  • it defines and reinforces acceptable standards of behaviour in local venues
  • patrons feel safer so are likely to spend more time at your venue
  • less disruption for staff
  • a safer work environment
  • a more relaxing and enjoyable atmosphere.

Where possible, standard barring policy should be agreed upon and adopted by all members of your local liquor accord.

Multi venue barring

Under a standard multi-venue barring system, licensees work in partnership through a local liquor accord and agree on a system where troublesome patrons are barred from all venues in an area.

If the accord decides to bar a person, then they are barred from all accord venues for the specified period. Essentially this means that each licensee agrees to exercise their common law right to refuse entry for the exclusion period.

In most cases, multi-venue barring is not imposed for one incident, unless serious, but is usually the culmination of a series of incidents over a period of time. These will usually be accompanied by repeated warnings from individual licensees.

Multi-venue strategy

Accords should establish a clear set of procedures for patron barring, and how they will be determined. Key questions to consider include:

  • When are patrons barred: Develop a list of behaviours that may lead to a multi- venue barring and agree upon the minimum barring period that relates to each offence. This can also be used by licensees as a guide for individual venue barring and to ensure consistency across the accord.
  • The list should detail:
    • specific types of behaviour that will result in a person being barred
    • the barring period for each offence
    • any increased periods for multiple or repeat offences.

Setting an agreed list of behaviours that have been checked by legal advisors helps to ensure anti- discrimination laws will not be breached.

  • Determining whether to bar a person: Accords will need to establish who decides whether to bar a person. This could include:
    • The accord executive
    • A specially formed disciplinary panel
    • The full membership of the accord - licensees only.

  • Operating the multi-venue barring strategy: Clear procedures should be developed and include:
    • Who can make the application?
    • What information is required?
    • When will it be considered – next accord meeting, special meeting of the panel or considered remotely by each panel member?
    • Is there a review or appeal option in place?

The strategy should be adopted as a term of the accord. The policy is more likely to be effective if it has full support from all local venues. Take time to meet and consider feedback from all members.

This is a good time for a membership drive as licensees who are not currently liquor accord members may want to join the accord to participate in multi-venue barring.

  • Notifying a barred person: They need a formal notification so they can understand what the barring involves. This could be done through:
    • Written information
    • Meeting with the local licensing officer
    • Attendance at a liquor accord meeting

It’s useful to have a central person coordinate the barring notifications. Decide who will be responsible for notifying the patron about the terms of the barring.

  • Sharing information: All staff at participating venues need to be told when a patron is barred. A system should be in place to let staff know who the barred patron is and when the barring period is complete.

It’s important to consider how personal information is used and secured. For example: details of a barred person should not be able to be seen by other patrons in the venue.

All staff handling personal information should be privacy trained. Depending upon whether a venue is bound by the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), additional requirements or limitations on the sharing of information may also apply. If using an ID scanning system special considerations need to be in place.

  • Staff training: Staff will need to know:
    • The process for barring a patron
    • How to deal with a barred patron entering the venue
    • How to remember when a barring notification is complete and the patron is welcome to enter again.
  • Removal of barring: A person may be barred until the end of the agreed term, or earlier than that if agreed to and voted on by all participating venues.
    The inclusion of a condition, such as attendance at anger management counselling, could be considered before removal of the barring.
  • Seek legal advice: Once the accord has agreed on a draft policy, it is important to seek legal advice before finalising the document.
    It is particularly important to check that your policy meets privacy and anti-discrimination laws.
    Check that the penalties and procedures for implementing any barring are legally enforceable before putting them in action as fines could apply.
  • Publicise it: It’s only fair to give patrons advance notice that the multi-venue barring strategy is being put in place. Consider the following promotion opportunities:
    • In-venue signage
    • Local media – see the media release template
    • Promote in community centres – police station, library etc
    • With the displayed conditions of entry or other signage at the door
    • Liquor accord, venue websites, social media channels

Promoting through local community centres can help improve understanding and boost support from all sectors of the community. It may even help promote your venues as a safe, friendly place to be.

  • Evaluate: It is important to initially review the strategies regularly. Once the program is established you can move to longer term reviews like annual evaluations. Evaluation questions to consider:
    • Effectiveness of each penalty time – is it too short, too long?
    • Offences that should be added or removed
    • Communication processes between participating venues
    • Staff training – do all staff understand the process?
    • Is it working – are barred patrons finding loopholes?
    • Is the response from the general community positive?
    • Police data – does the data show the strategy is effective?
    • Is the number of patrons requiring barring decreasing?

Banning orders are appropriate when:

  • a person repeatedly ignores a barring period imposed under common law
  • there is no liquor accord in place to implement a multi-venue barring strategy
  • venues can't agree about barring a patron
  • the patron has been disruptive to the point of justifying formal regulatory action.

Banning periods

Under the Liquor Act 2007, the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) can ban a patron for up to six months from multiple licensed venues if that patron has been repeatedly intoxicated, violent, quarrelsome or disorderly on or in the immediate vicinity of licensed premises.

Applying for a banning order

An application for a banning order can be made to ILGA by:

Get a Banning order application - AM0333  PDF, 642.73 KB or AM0343 PDF, 679.88 KB.

A person subject to a banning order must not enter, attempt to enter or remain on the relevant licensed premises. A maximum penalty of $5,500 applies.

Licensees can also consider a place restriction order under the Crime (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 . This is only for serious matters that lead to prosecution, and ought to be implemented in consultation with police.

This provision can be applied during the sentencing process. A person may be prohibited from certain places for 12 months when that person is convicted for a minimum sentence of 6 months. Speak to your local licensing police officer for details.

Many people have concerns about the possible misuse of personal information. They worry that stored personal information could be hacked, stolen or inappropriately accessed or misused, causing harm through financial, credit card or identity fraud.

Licensees should ensure that they only collect the information that is necessary to implement the multi-venue barring policy, this helps to lower the risk of privacy complaints being lodged.

It is a matter for each licensee to determine their privacy obligations and each licensee must ensure they comply with State and Federal privacy laws.

We strongly recommend that an accord or licensee seeks independent legal advice before implementing a barring system.

NSW Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (PPIPA): individual licensees are not bound by PPIPA and may collect, use and disclose personal information without breaching its terms. The NSW Police Force is also exempt from compliance with the PPIPA, except in relation to its administrative and educative functions.

This means that a licensee who is a member of a local liquor accord that bars a person from the venue may share the name of the person and a photograph with other licensees who are part of that liquor accord, without breaching the PPIPA (note that however, Commonwealth law may apply).

PPIPA does apply to public sector agencies such as the Secretary of the NSW Department of Customer Service and local councils, who are eligible to be part of an accord. It is recommended licensees exclude these agencies from personal information about barred persons.

Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988: Whilst NSW privacy laws are not generally applicable, some licensees may have obligations under the Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988. Under the Privacy Act, licensees with a turnover of more than $3 million are required to comply with the Australian Privacy Principles (APP) that restrict the collection and disclosure of personal information (Schedule 1 to the Act).

Particularly relevant, under APP 6, an organisation is prohibited from using or disclosing personal information about an individual for a purpose other than the primary purpose of collection. Where a multi-venue barring policy is in place, venues may be able to use and disclose an individual’s details provided that the information was primarily collected in order to implement this policy.

To remove any doubt, and to comply with other aspects of the APPs, patrons should be informed of this at the time of collection.

It is up to each individual licensee to assess whether they are required to comply with the APPs and, if so, to determine what steps need to be taken in this regard.

There is also nothing to prevent accord members agreeing that measures be taken to protect the privacy of the barred person, even if those measures are not legally required.

Tips for complying with the Privacy Act

  • Tell people when you collect personal information what you expect to do with it.
  • Use personal information only for the reason you collected it, or in ways people would think reasonable, unless:
    • you have their consent
    • have given them an opportunity to opt-out
    • the use is authorised by another law.
  • Share personal information only for the reason you collected it, or in ways people would think reasonable, unless you have consent or the disclosure is authorised by another law.
  • If people ask, give them a chance to see any information you hold about them and keep personal information secure, accurate, and up-to-date.
  • Take reasonable steps to secure the information.
  • Destroy or de-identify the information when it is no longer required.

Venues are increasingly introducing ID scanners as a security measure as recording personal information can deter anti-social behaviour and improve compliance. Linking scanners between venues provides an effective mechanism to implement a multi-venue barring policy.

It is essential for each licensee to seek legal advice on their individual privacy requirements to ensure that they comply with the law. For example, broadly, APP 3 states that consent is needed to collect sensitive information. Organ donor information on a driver’s licence is considered to be sensitive information.

Compliance Tips

  • Only collect the identity information you need. Limit to what is necessary.
  • You are not allowed to collect information simply because you think it may be useful in the future.
  • You are not allowed to collect information simply because it is convenient.
  • Consent is needed to collect ‘sensitive’ information. Note that driver licences contain sensitive information.
  • Even if you have consent, the information still needs to be reasonably necessary before you are allowed to collect it.
  • Consider giving your patrons an alternative option if they don’t want their ID scanned.
  • Patrons must know that their information is being collected and what will be done with it
  • All staff that handle personal information should be privacy-trained.
  • The information you have scanned and stored must be accurate, complete, and up-to-date.
  • Don’t collect Australian Government identifiers. This means not collecting, scanning or copying identifiers such as passports or Medicare numbers.

This information is summarised from: Information Sheet (Private Sector) 30 – ID scanning in pubs and clubs , available from

It is important to make sure you do not breach anti-discrimination laws in attempting to refuse entry, eject, bar, or ban a person from a venue.

Before refusing entry or ejecting a patron, keep in mind that some medical conditions, disabilities, or the use of prescribed drugs may cause similar behaviours without the person being intoxicated as a result of alcohol consumption. If the person has a medical condition or disability, it is likely that their friends will be able to tell you. Ask respectfully, and be sensitive to a person’s right to privacy.

When determining banning orders, ILGA must not take into consideration the person’s race or ethnic or national origins. Licensees should do likewise when considering patron barring and ensure that decisions are made based on the behaviour of persons and not personal characteristics.

Get familiar with the Anti-Discrimination Guidelines for the Hotel and Accommodation Industry PDF, 591.27 KB.

These guidelines were developed with assistance of: