The Fair Trading Act 2015 enacted on the 1st July 2015 sets out to streamline and simplify the business licensing system and establish a single point of contact as part of the business licensing procedure. The functions of the old Trade Licensing Authority are now transferred and subsumed within the remit of the Office of Fair Trading and renamed the Business Licensing Authority (“BLA”).
Any person who wishes to buy or sell, whether wholesale or retail, any goods by way of business, or importing of goods in commercial quantities, or who wishes to provide services (widely defined in the Act), must be the holder of a license issued by the BLA. However, persons carrying on investment business, regulated or controlled activities as defined in financial services legislation do not require to be additionally licensed under the Fair Trading Act 2015.
Application for a new license involves the following:
Both the applicant and the objector and their legal advisors have the right to attend the hearing, give evidence and call witnesses and cross examine witnesses for the other party and address the BLA. They may not be present, however, during any subsequent deliberation of the BLA.
A license is issued for the premises and not for the applicant; an application will not be accepted unless suitable commercial premises have been obtained. Licenses are in force for a year from the date of issue and are renewable annually.