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May 2020

New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control Requires Special Rulings Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 33:1-12.39 and N.J.S.A. 33:1-12.18 to be Submitted Electronically

Last updated May 7, 2020

In an Advisory dated April 9, 2020, the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (the “ABC”) has advised the industry that it now requires that Petitions for relief and associated fees pursuant to N.J.S.A. 33:1-12.39 (Renewal of Inactive or “Pocket” Licenses) and N.J.S.A. 33:1-12.18 (Failure to Timely Renew) be submitted electronically.

N.J.S.A. 33:1-12.39 (Renewal of Inactive or “Pocket” Licenses)

If your license became inactive on or before June 30, 2018, your local issuing authority will not be able to renew your inactive license for the 2020-2021 license term unless you first obtain a "Special Ruling" from the Director of the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. An inactive license is a license that is not currently open and operating in a licensed premises. The Director has the authority to grant a Special Ruling pursuant to N.J.S.A. 33:1-12.39, (“12.39”) based upon good cause shown.

N.J.S.A. 33:1-12.18 (Failure to Timely Renew)

When a licensee did not file its renewal application and pay the annual fees (both municipal and state) on or before July 30, 2019, (for the 2019-2020 license term) a Special Ruling pursuant to N.J.S.A. 33:1-12.18 (“12.18”) is required. The statute permits a licensee to petition the Director within one year (until July 30, 2020 for the 2019-20 license term) following the expiration of the license renewal period. The licensee is required to request a Special Ruling to permit the filing of an application for a new license upon failure to timely renew. To obtain a Special Ruling, the Director must make a written determination that the applicant's failure to apply for a renewal of their license in a timely manner was due to circumstances beyond the licensee's control or other extraordinary circumstances. Failure to apply for renewal and a 12.18 Special Ruling on or before July 30, 2020 causes a license to permanently lapse and cease to exist.

The new process to apply for relief pursuant to N.J.S.A. 33:1-12.39 and N.J.S.A. 33:1-12.18 (“12.18”) now requires that a licensee must:

  1. Complete the Verified Form (for 12.39) or Petition Certification (for 12.18);

  2. Email document in .pdf form to amy.leib@njoag.gov;

  3. Wait for the Division to docket the Petition or Form into POSSE, (generally two to three days);

  4. Log into POSSE account and pay the outstanding filing fee ($100 per year of relief requested);

If the filing fee is not submitted, the Division will not process the petition. Failure to receive required relief pursuant to N.J.S.A. 33:1-12.39 and/or N.J.S.A. 33:1-12.18 may cause a liquor license to lapse and permanently cease to exist.

In addition, as a result of COVID-19 and the declared Public Health emergency resulting in the mandatory closure of bars and ban on on-premises dining, the ABC has allowed licensees additional time to complete all necessary steps to renew their licenses. Therefore, a ninety (90) day extension until September 30, 2020 was granted to allow licensees to organize their business operations, reopen, financially recover, and complete the renewal process. See our previous alert on the extension here.

To read the Division of ABC’s Notice AN-2020-04, regarding Petitions for relief pursuant to N.J.S.A. 33:1-12.39 (Renewal of Inactive or “Pocket” Licenses) and N.J.S.A. 33:1-12.18 (Failure to Timely Renew) please click here

If you require any assistance in renewing your liquor license or filing a petition for a Special Ruling pursuant to N.J.S.A. 33:1-12.39 and N.J.S.A. 33:1-12.18, or have questions about your liquor license, please do not hesitate to contact the authors listed below.

For additional information pertaining to the coronavirus outbreak, please visit CSG's COVID-19 Resource Center.


This publication contains general information on recent legal developments and is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific situation or to create an attorney-client relationship. Attorney Advertising. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

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