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Silly Laws

I read this article yesterday and loved it (Full article: UK Chooses 'Most Ludicrous Laws'; BBC News Online; Tuesday 6th November 2007).

Here are the two sets of 'Top 10' Silly Real Laws that are still on the books today:

The UK's top 10 most ridiculous British laws were listed as:

  • 1. It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament (27%)
  • 2. It is an act of treason to place a postage stamp bearing the British king or queen's image upside-down (7%)
  • 3. It is illegal for a woman to be topless in Liverpool except as a clerk in a tropical fish store (6%)
  • 4. Eating mince pies on Christmas Day is banned (5%)
  • 5. If someone knocks on your door in Scotland and requires the use of your toilet, you are required to let them enter (4%)
  • 6. In the UK a pregnant woman can legally relieve herself anywhere she wants, including in a policeman's helmet (4%)
  • 7. The head of any dead whale found on the British coast automatically becomes the property of the King, and the tail of the Queen (3.5%)
  • 8. It is illegal not to tell the tax man anything you do not want him to know, but legal not to tell him information you do not mind him knowing (3%)
  • 9. It is illegal to enter the Houses of Parliament wearing a suit of armour (3%)
  • 10. It is legal to murder a Scotsman within the ancient city walls of York, but only if he is carrying a bow and arrow (2%)

  • Other bizarre foreign laws voted by those polled included:

  • In Ohio, it is illegal to get a fish drunk (9%)
  • In Indonesia, the penalty for masturbation is decapitation (8%)
  • A male doctor in Bahrain can only examine the genitals of a woman in the reflection of a mirror (7%)
  • In Switzerland, a man may not relieve himself standing up after 10pm (6%)
  • It is illegal to be blindfolded while driving a vehicle in Alabama (6%)
  • In Florida, unmarried women who parachute on a Sunday could be jailed (6%)
  • Women in Vermont must obtain written permission from their husbands to wear false teeth (6%)
  • In Milan, it is a legal requirement to smile at all times, except during funerals or hospital visits (5%)
  • In France, it is illegal to name a pig Napoleon (4%)
  • Comments

    ( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
    corpsie
    Nov. 7th, 2007 11:13 am (UTC)
    is illegal to be blindfolded while driving a vehicle in Alabama

    I think I know why and how this came about- 'psychics' often prove their skills by driving, or riding bikes while blindfolded. I'm guessing someone in Alabama did it wrong.
    eryx_uk
    Nov. 7th, 2007 11:47 am (UTC)
    One of my friends works for the polce and as part of his training he had to read up on old 19th century by-laws that were still in effect.

    The best ones that I remember were:

    * It is illegal for any man to have sexual relations with any woman known to be an idiot.

    * An officier of the law may stop and question any man thought to be a rogue and a vagabond.

    Great wordings! :-)
    twisted_times
    Nov. 7th, 2007 12:25 pm (UTC)

    Shouldn't the first one make it illegal to have sexual relations with anyone from a girl band..?

    eryx_uk
    Nov. 7th, 2007 12:47 pm (UTC)
    Quite likely.
    twisted_times
    Nov. 7th, 2007 01:29 pm (UTC)

    This law would also cover MPs, Congressmen, Sentors, Prime Ministers, Generals and Supermodels...

    twisted_times
    Nov. 7th, 2007 12:27 pm (UTC)

    The best law related fact is that the death penalty is still enforceable for three crimes under English Law:-

    High Treason
    Piracy with violence
    Arson in a Naval Dockyard

    jonnynexus
    Nov. 7th, 2007 02:39 pm (UTC)
    'Fraid that's no longer true:
    27th of January 1999. The Home Secretary (Jack Straw) formally signed the 6th protocol of the European Convention of Human Rights in Strasbourg, on behalf of the British government formally abolishing the death penalty in the UK. It had been still theoretically available for treason and piracy up to 1998 but it was extremely unlikely that even if anyone had been convicted of these crimes over the preceding 30 years, that they would have actually been executed.

    http://www.richard.clark32.btinternet.co.uk/timeline.html
    James Hewitt could potentially have been executed (in the late 1980s / early 1990s) for having an affair with the wife of the heir to the throne, which is high treason, and which was still then a capital offense. But for some reason, the government of the day didn't pursue this course of action.

    :)
    twisted_times
    Nov. 7th, 2007 03:06 pm (UTC)

    Shame about James Hewitt... think of the licensing rights The Treasury could've raked in from televising it!

    bleepyfruhstuck
    Nov. 7th, 2007 08:10 pm (UTC)
    Yup, a great pity about not being able to execute James Hewitt.
    Any reason would have been valid..

    However, consider how much one of the Princes looks not at all like a Windsor and oh so much more like Hewitt, and methinks the only reason he's still alive is that he refuses to be driven anywhere (esp. through tunnels) by alcoholic Frenchmen..
    twisted_times
    Nov. 7th, 2007 08:21 pm (UTC)

    *sniggers muchly*

    heliograph
    Nov. 7th, 2007 01:56 pm (UTC)
    In Switzerland, a man may not relieve himself standing up after 10pm

    This law makes perfect sense, and I wish we had it here.
    twisted_times
    Nov. 7th, 2007 08:23 pm (UTC)

    That won't work - it'd either be ignored, or you'd get people sitting on garden walls urinating onto the pavement that way instead. If you were lucky, they'd do something useful and fertilise their neighbourhood gardens with itinstead...

    derekct
    Nov. 8th, 2007 08:32 pm (UTC)
    The best one I heard about:

    1. In one US city it's illegal to explode a nuclear weapon and there is a fine of $500 dollars.
    ( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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