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No appeal of High Court ruling on brothel bylaw

4 April 2006

Council not to appeal High Court ruling on brothel bylaw

Auckland City has now considered the High Court judgment of Justice Heath on council's brothel bylaw and has decided not to appeal the decision.

The High Court ruling from Justice Heath was delivered on 14 March after Club 574, an Epsom brothel, sought a judicial review of the council's bylaw.

The council and the lawyers for Club 574 both agreed that the judgement only quashed the location controls on brothels and not other parts of the brothels and commercial sex premises bylaw.

Auckland City will now investigate other options, which may include:

* reconsidering the entire bylaw

* redrafting the portion of the bylaw dealing with the location of brothels

* using the provisions which are in place under the district plan to offer some control over the location of brothels in the city. These provisions allow brothels to operate in some business zones and the mixed-use zone. Large brothels cannot operate in residential zones, but small owner-operated brothels can, provided they comply with home occupation rules.


* Auckland City adopted a bylaw to manage brothels and commercial sex premises in December 2003, following the decriminalisation of prostitution with the introduction of the Prostitution Reform Act.

* Auckland City's bylaw included controls on the location of brothels, the location of commercial sex premises, signage, licensing and operational health and safety requirements.

* In March 2005, Auckland City declined a dispensation from the location controls in the bylaw for Club 574, an Epsom brothel. The owner of Club 574 then challenged the validity of the bylaw in the High Court, as well as the decision of a council Hearings Committee to deny Club 574 dispensation to operate as a brothel in a residential area.

* On 14 March, Justice Heath found the location controls relating to brothels in the bylaw invalid.

* Auckland City and Club 574 have asked the judge to clarify whether he intended his ruling to apply to the entire bylaw or only to the location controls of brothels and are waiting for a response on this matter.


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