Casual Trading

Casual Trading

Casual trading areas are designated by bye-laws made by the local authority.

Casual selling means selling goods at a place including a public road, to which the public has access as of right or any other place that is a casual trading area.  Casual trading does not include

  • selling by auction by the holder of an auctioneer’s licence;
  • selling in a place where the person resides;
  • selling in respect of which it is shown by the seller that any profits are used for charitable purposes, no private profit is derived by, and no remuneration gain or profit accrues to the seller.

The Minister may make regulations regarding the classes of selling specified above, which may be varied accordingly. The local authority may make bye-laws adding to the above classes of selling which are excepted from the legislation.


Casual Trading Licence

A person may not engage in casual trading unless he holds a casual trading licence or is the employee of such a person.  He must trade only in accordance with the terms of the licence. The licence continues for 12 months unless revoked. It is an offence to give false information in relation to an application for a casual trading licence.

A casual trading licence is without prejudice to all other provisions relating to the sale of goods.A casual trader must display his licence so that it is clearly visible to members of the public.  It must be produced to any person on request.  Failure to do so is an offence.

Where there is a casual trading area in the Local Authority area, a person shall not engage in casual trading other than in the casual trading area, unless he holds a casual trading licence. Breach is an offence.  The onus of proof is on the trader to prove certain matters in a prosecution.


Grant of Licence

A local authority may on application grant a casual trading licence.  The licence may authorise the holder to engage in casual trading on specified days

  • if no casual trading area is designated, in that authority’s area;
  • at one place only in one specified casual trading area
  • at events specified in the licence to which the public are admitted or in the immediate vicinity thereof and on the day concerned.

The local authority may grant more than one casual trading licence in respect of casual trading at different casual trading areas at different places.

The application must be made at least 30 days before the first day on which it is intended to engage in casual trading. The casual trading licence may contain such conditions as may be specified.  The licence holder must comply with the conditions.  Failure to comply is an offence.


Revocation or Refusal

A casual trading licence may be revoked if the local authority is satisfied that it is being contravened of if the person to whom it is granted is convicted of an offence in relation to the importation, possession or sale of goods, committed while he is the holder of a licence.

The local authority may refuse a licence if the person fails to pay the requisite fee and apply in the requisite form. It may refuse a licence if a trading place for the purpose of casual trading is not available. It may refuse to grant a licence to a person who has been convicted of an offence in relation to the sale of goods while he was the holder of a casual trading licence during the preceding three years.

The local authority may not grant a licence to a person who has been convicted of two or more serious offences while he is the holder of a casual trading licence or of an offence under the Act if two of the convictions occurred less than three years before the application.


Bye-Laws

The local authority may make bye-laws in relation to the control, regulation, supervision and administration of casual trading in its area.  Bye-laws may make provision for the designation of casual trading areas.  They may specify the maximum area that may be occupied by a person within the area.  They may regulate access to the area.  They may fix fees in respect of casual trading licences, differentiating between classes of persons and circumstances.

The local authority must have regard to the proper planning and development of the area in designating a casual trading area.  It shall have regard to the available facilities, services and to traffic obstruction issues.

There are special procedures for the adoption of bye-laws for casual trading.  A person aggrieved by proposed bylaws may apply to the District Court to challenge them.


Casual Trading Exemptions

The Casual Trading Act provides that casual trading does not include

  • selling by auction by the holder of an estate agents licence;
  • selling to a person at a place where he resides or carries on business.
  • selling where the profits are for charitable purposes only with no private profit.

The Casual Trading Act does not apply to sales by the grower of specific fruit and vegetables between 1st May and 30th September subject to conditions specified. Fruit and vegetables covered include strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, gooseberries, blackberries, loganberries, tayberries, currants and potatoes. The Minister may expand or alter the above exclusions by regulations. Local authorities may make bye-laws in relation to the above types of sales.

A person may not engage in casual trading without a casual trading licence. Where there is a casual trading area in the local authority’s functional area, a person shall not engage in casual trading in that functional area other than in the casual trading area unless he holds a casual trading licence. This restriction does not apply during the currency of a casual trading licence granted to a person in respect of a functional area of a local authority prior to the designation of the casual trading area.


Licensing

The local authority may, on application, grant a casual trading licence, authorising a person to engage in casual trading on specified days. If there are casual trading areas designated, the licence may be limited to it or to them.

The local authority notifies the Revenue in respect of persons to whom casual trading licences are issued. The person must comply with the terms   of the licence. The failure to do so constitutes an offence.

A local authority may revoke a casual trading licence if conditions are being contravened or if the holder is convicted of an offence in relation to the importation, possession or sale of goods.

A local authority may refuse a licence if

  • the applicant does not complete the requisite forms and applications
  • if there is no casual trading place available at that time.

It may refuse a licence to a person who has been convicted of offences during a period of three years beforehand. It must not grant a licence to a person convicted of two or more relevant offences if two have occurred within the previous three years.

Licences are generally annual. A person who holds a casual trading licence must display the licence as may be specified.The local authority must maintain a register of casual trading licences issued by it.A licence may be granted in respect of events specified in it.


Bye-Laws I

Local authorities have powers to make bye-laws in relation to the control, regulation, supervision, and administration of casual trading areas within their jurisdiction.

The by-laws may deal with any one or more of the following.

  • the designation of lands as casual trading areas;
  • the specification of the maximum area that may be occupied.
  • the regulation of access;
  • the fixing of fees, including fees for different circumstances and classes of persons;
  • the provision of trading places for disabled persons;
  • enforcement.

Bye-Laws II

When deciding to designate a casual trading area or to revoke a designation, the local authorities must have regard to the proper planning of the area, including the development plan.

There is a procedure for making the by-laws, including provision for persons making observations and submissions. A person aggrieved by bye-laws may appeal to the District Court against them. The court may vary or disallow the bye-laws.

A local authority may compulsorily acquire by agreement any market or fair within its area. The local authority may manage and regulate a fair or market of which it is the owner as if it was established under the public-house legislation.


Ancient Market Rights

A local authority may carry on, manage and regulate markets and fairs owned or regulated by them.  A local authority may acquire any market right for a market or fair compulsorily or by agreement. The compulsory purchase legislation applies to the acquisition of the right. Where a market right has not been exercised for 10 years, it is regarded as extinguished.

A local authority may extinguish market rights owned by it.  It may not extinguish a market right unless it provides alternative facilities in the same vicinity as the market or fair, including facilities reasonably corresponding to those for the market or fair concerned.

Where a local authority proposes to extinguish a right, it must give notice to the persons concerned and must publish notices.  The persons concerned may object within 21 days and appeal to the District Court.  The Court may if it is of the opinion that notwithstanding that an alternative facility is being provided, determine that it constitutes an undue interference with the facilities enjoyed by the public and may prohibit the extinguishment or imposed condition.


Enforcement I

The local authority may appoint officers for the purpose of enforcement of the casual trading legislation. An authorised officer of the council may request the assistance of a member of an Garda Siochana.

An authorised officer or member of an Garda Siochana has the power to inspect premises where casual trading is being engaged in.  He may require persons whom he has reasonable cause to believe engage in casual trading to produce their licence and give their names and addresses.

He may make such enquiries as are necessary to ascertain that the Act and bye-laws are being complied with.  He may require them to give details of the ownership of goods being sold.  He may require them to produce documents, accounts etc. and take copies. Failure to comply with requirements is an offence.


Enforcement II

A member of an Garda Siochana may arrest without warrant, a person whom he has reason to believe is contravening the legislation.  He may seize and remove goods.  He may require persons who remove themselves and the goods from the place, and if they do not comply, he may arrest the person, seize and remove the goods.

Goods include receptacles, vehicles in which goods are exposed and all utensils, boxes and articles including vehicles or stands for the purpose of the trading and any draught animal at the place. The goods may be seized in the same way as under the street trading legislation.  They may be sold, or they may be reclaimed on payment of the expenses incurred.

The local authority maintains a register of casual trading licences.  It is open for inspection.

Breach of the legislation is subject to prosecution summarily with a fine of up to €1,270 on summary conviction or a fine up to €12,700 or imprisonment up to six months or both on conviction on indictment.


References and Sources

Casual Trading Act 1995

Casual Trading Act, 1995 (Commencement) Order 1995, S.I. No.

267 of 1995Casual Trading Act, 1995 (Forms) Regulations 1996, S.I. No. 146

of 1996

Casual Trading Act 1995 (Section 2(3)) Regulations 2004, S.I. No.

191 of 2004