Sex shop licence

Licence summary

If you own a sex shop, you may need a licence from your local authority. You may also apply to your local authority, requesting that they waive the requirement of a licence.

You must give notice of your application by publishing an advertisement in a newspaper specified by the local authority within seven days of the application. Notice of the application must also be displayed for 21 days, from the date of the application, on or near the premises in a place where the notice can conveniently be read by the public.

Eligibility Criteria

No provision in legislation

Regulation Summary

See the External Links section on this page for the regulation summary.

Application Evaluation Process

Applications must be:

  • be made in writing (including by electronic means)
  • be signed by the applicant (including by electronic means)

The applicant must put up a notice near the premises for 21 days beginning with the date of the application. This must state that an application has been made, details of the application, eg the applicant's name and address, that objections and representations can be made and how they can be made. Once the notice has been up for 21 days the applicant must submit a certificate of compliance to the authority. An authority will need the certificate before they can make a final decision on the application.

The licensing authority will send a copy of the application to the local chief constable and to the appropriate relevant authority (or where applicable the enforcing authority under the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005).

The authority must consider any representations when assessing the application. They must give the applicant notice in writing of any representations but will not give the name and address of the person making the representations unless they consent. They may hear representations before making a decision. They may also make any investigations they feel are necessary before considering the application.

If the authority intend to take into account a representation and they have not given the person who made it or the applicant the opportunity to be heard, they must give the applicant the chance to notify them in writing on the applicant's views to the objection or representation. A reasonable period must be allowed, which can be no less than seven days.
The enforcing or relevant authority may be the Health & Safety Executive, the fire service or the local authority.

Will Tacit Consent Apply?

No. It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from the local authority within a reasonable period, please contact it. You can do this online if you applied through the UK Welcomes service.

Apply online

Please use the link under the External Links section on this page to submit an application.

Failed Application Redress

Please contact your local district council in the first instance. If you wish to make representations about an application you must do so in writing to the local authority within 28 days of either, the application, the date the application was advertised or any other date given, whichever is later.

If you wish to appeal against a decision you may do so to the local sheriff within 28 days of the decision. The sheriff can only uphold an appeal if they consider that the licensing authority:

  • erred in law
  • used incorrect material fact when making their decision
  • acted contrary to natural justice
  • didn't exercise their discretion in a reasonable manner

Appeals against a sheriff's decision can be made to the Court of Session within 28 days of the decision.

Licence Holder Redress

Please contact your local district council in the first instance. If you wish to make representations about an application you must do so in writing to the local authority within 28 days of either, the application, the date the application was advertised or any other date given, whichever is later.

Consumer Complaint

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you - preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked, if you are located in the UK, Consumer Direct will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Other Redress

E.g. about noise, pollution, etc. Also should one licence holder complain about another.
If you wish to make representations about an application you must do so in writing to the local authority within 28 days of either, the application, the date the application was advertised or any other date given, whichever is later.

Page last updated: 11 June 2015