Knife dealer licence

A knife dealer licence is required if you wish to carry on business as a dealer in certain types of knives:

  • "non-domestic" knives
  • blades (other than those designed for domestic use)
  • swords
  • any other article which has a blade, is sharply pointed or is made to cause injury to another person

A dealer is defined as a person carrying on a business which consists wholly or partly of the following activities:

  • selling
  • hiring
  • offering for sale or hire
  • exposing for sale or hire
  • lending
  • giving any of the articles listed above to other persons not acting in the course of a business

Selling is defined as including sale by auction and accepting goods or services in payment for such articles. The legislation also applies to remote sales of knives and may require both the premises that the article is sold from and the premises where the article is dispatched from to be licensed, depending on whether those premises are located.

The legislation does not define "domestic" or "non-domestic" knife. Aberdeenshire Council interprets "domestic" as being "any knife, tool or blade used or habitually used in accommodation used as family homes". Anyone dealing in knives that do not fall into the definition of "domestic", or anyone dealing in swords, will be required to apply for a knife dealer licence.


The Knife Dealers’ Licences (Exceptions) Order 2008 provides that there are also certain exemptions from the requirement to obtain a knife dealer licence. You don't need a licence if you deal in the following:

  • knives designed for domestic use
  • knife blades designed for domestic use
  • folding pocket knives; kirpans or skean dhus whose blades do not exceed 3.5 inches (8.91 cm in length)

Where a person is teaching or training another person in the sport of fencing, the hiring, lending or giving of fencing weapons does not constitute a business requiring a licence, but only where the person teaching is a professional who is qualified to teach or train in the sport.

Anyone who operates a business dealing in non-domestic knives without the appropriate knife dealer licence commits a criminal offence.


You must be a fit and proper person and not be disqualified from holding a licence.

You must not have had an application refused for the same licence within the 12 months prior to making your application, unless you have had a material change in circumstances.

The Conditions of the Knife Dealer Licence can be viewed at Knife Dealer Licence - Conditions (PDF 22KB).

Application fee

The fee for a knife dealer licence is £260 and is non-refundable.

You can pay by either:

Unfortunately we are unable to accept payment by BACs, cheques or cash.

How to apply

Your completed application form need to be accompanied by a layout plan of the premises.

You can apply for a knife dealers licence onlinehowever we may need to request additional information to supplement the Scottish system.

Alternatively you can apply in paper by completing the knife dealer application form (PDF 222KB)Please send your competed form by email to or by post to, please note physical mail is only checked once a week:

Aberdeenshire Council
Legal and People
Arduthie Road
AB39 2DQ

If you are unable to complete the forms, please call us and we will assist you to apply over the telephone.

Displaying a site notice

At the same time as lodging your application for a licence, you must display the appropriate site notice (PDF 85KB), at the location from which your business is to operate, for a period of 21 days.

Thereafter, you must submit a certificate of compliance (PDF 69 KB) to us, stating that the site notice was correctly displayed, or explaining why you were unable to display the site notice.

Failure to provide the necessary information and documentation, or the application fee, will result in the inability to further process the application. Full approval will not be granted until the required information and documentation has been provided, examined and deemed satisfactory, and the application has been fully processed.

Application process

You are not permitted to operate as a knife dealer until such time as a Knife Dealer’s Licence has been issued to you. We will send a copy of your application to Police Scotland, Planning Services, Building Services, (our consultees).

In the absence of objections or adverse representations, your licence will be issued to you under delegated authority.

Where objections or adverse representations are made, your application will be referred to the appropriate Committee of Aberdeenshire Council for consideration.

Duration of the licence

If granted, your licence will come into effect on the date specified on the licence. Licences are normally granted for 3 years, unless a shorter period is specified.