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Regulated businesses


Hairdressers and barbers


There is no UK wide regulation of hairdressers or barbers. Registration of premises (as distinct from licensing) applies in England and Wales and in Northern Ireland.

The Hairdressers (Registration) Act 1964 applies in England, Scotland and Wales. This Act provides for the establishment of the Hairdressing Council which must maintain and publish a register of hairdressers and which administers training courses and decides whether an applicant has reached the required standard for the form of hairdressing applied for.

Registration with the Hairdressing Council is voluntary and is not a legal requirement for the practice of hairdressing or barbering.

This business will also also be concerned with Music licences and Smoke-free premises.

Information about courses and apprenticeships for entering into the hairdressing and barbering trades is available from the London Hairdressing Apprenticeship Academy site.

England and Wales

A local authority may make byelaws for securing the cleanliness of premises on which a hairdresser's or barber's business is carried on and the instruments, towels, materials and equipment used in that business, and the cleanliness of the hairdressers or barbers working in those premises in regard to themselves and their clothing [ Public Health Act 1961 s 77(1)].

It appears that most local authorities exercise this power.

Applications for registration: apply on line via Hairdresser registration (England) or Register a hairdressing business (Wales), or direct to the local authority.

Tacit consent: the legislation does not specifically provide for tacit consent.  It appears that some authorities consider that tacit consent does apply and some not.


Special legislation applies in London. A borough council and the City of London Corporation may adopt power [Greater London Council (General Powers) Act 1967 s 21(1)] to require that a person who carries on the business of a hairdresser or barber on any premises in a borough must be registered in respect of those premises by the borough council.

'Carrying on the business of hairdresser or barber' does not include a provider who visits a customer by prior appointment who is resident at the premises.

Applications: the borough council must register an applicant if he provides details of his name and residence and of the premises of the borough in respect of which he desires to be registered. The council may however require that any applicable planning permission is required. The council must issue a certificate of registration.

A registered hairdresser or barber must display a copy of his certificate of registration at the registered premises. He must also display a copy of any byelaws made by the council under the Public Health Act 1961 s 77(1).

Enforcement: if any person carries on business on contravention of the obligation to register, he is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale and a daily fine not exceeding five pounds.

News item:
27/04/2012: EU guidance for hairdressers health and safety: the EU hairdressing workers, UNI Europa Hair & Beauty, and the hairdressing employers counterpart, Coiffure EU, have agreed upon new guidance for hairdressers on working in a healthy and safe environment. Read more

Northern Ireland

Under the Hairdressers Act (Northern Ireland) 1939, a district council may require any premises in which the trade or business of barber or hairdresser is carried on tol be registered by the occupier.

The council may make regulations prescribing how the registration shall be made.

Applications for registration: apply online via Hairdresser registration (Northern Ireland) or by direct application to the district council.

[Page updated: 08/06/2012]




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