Dumb Laws

The ancient lineage of the UK legal system (well, England & Wales anyway) means it’s one of the most well-developed in the world. However, it also leaves it cluttered up in many places, leaving some really obsolete and silly laws in place. So I’ll list those and a few more here:

Silly UK laws:

1. It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament
2. It is an act of treason to place a postage stamp bearing the British king or queen’s image upside-down
3. It is illegal for a woman to be topless in Liverpool except as a clerk in a tropical fish store
4. Eating mince pies on Christmas Day is banned
5. If someone knocks on your door in Scotland and requires the use of your toilet, you are required to let them enter
6. In the UK a pregnant woman can legally relieve herself anywhere she wants, including in a policeman’s helmet
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
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
9. It is illegal to enter the Houses of Parliament wearing a suit of armour
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
11. It is illegal to hang washing in the street
12. It is illegal to beat a carpet in the street
13. It is illegal to fly a kite in the street
14. It is illegal to be drunk in charge of a horse, cow or steam engine
15. It is illegal to fire a cannon close to a dwelling house
16. It is illegal to bet or gamble in the library reading room
17. It is illegal to use any slide upon ice or snow
18. It is illegal to drive cattle through the streets of London
19. It is illegal to sing any profane or obscene song or ballad, or use any profane or obscene language
20. It is illegal to light a firework! (seriously: Section 28 of the Town Police Clauses Act 1847)

Silly laws from around the world:

1. In Ohio, it is illegal to get a fish drunk
2. In Indonesia, the penalty for masturbation is decapitation
3. A male doctor in Bahrain can only examine the genitals of a woman in the reflection of a mirror
4. In Switzerland, a man may not relieve himself standing up after 10pm
5. 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
7. Women in Vermont must obtain written permission from their husbands to wear false teeth
8. In Milan, it is a legal requirement to smile at all times, except during funerals or hospital visits
9. There is no age of consent in Japan
10. In France, it is illegal to name a pig Napoleon
11. In Calgary in Canada, one must have a hitching post outside of their business establishment.
12. Still in Calgary, if one is kicked out of the city, the accused is entitled a horse and a day’s worth of rations to see them to the next city. (Old Cowboy rules)