Ambiguities in approaches to brothels: Disorderly Houses or commercial premises?

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Environmental and Planning Law Journal, 2003, 20 (6), pp. 445 - 458
Issue Date:
2003-12-01
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In 1995, the Disorderly Houses Amendment Act 1995 (NSW) abolished the common law offence of keeping a brothel, making brothels a legitimate commercial land use regulated under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW). Councils were given the power to approve brothels, and to take action in the Land and Environment Court to close a disorderly brothel in response to complaints by nearby residents. This article explores whether or not the legislature has achieved the stated aim of treating brothels as legitimate commercial land use, through an analysis of local council policies in NSW and Land and Environment Court decisions regarding brothels. The central argument of this article is that while the reforms have gone some way toward treating brothels as legitimate commercial premises, the historical perception of brothels as inherently disorderly is sustained at local and State government levels and in some of the Land and Environment Court decisions. © LAWBOOK CO.
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