Top 10 Britain's Most Stupid Laws

Staff Emeritus
I find these to be hysterically funny, especially about the clerk in a tropical fish store!

I'm sure there are plenty of very silly laws here in the US as well. No civilization is immune to such stupidity. :)

Zz.

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Kurdt
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Some of them aren't silly just outdated. I admit however that the tropical fish store attendant law does seem rather strange. I wonder what lead to that law.

EDIT: Was just searching for some more when I came across a world Looneylaw website.

http://www.loonylaws.com/index.htm

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Art
I remember reading some years ago about an Oxbridge student quoting an old law and demanding his yard of ale before sitting an exam - he was kicked out for being improperly dressed, he wasn't wearing his sword.

I assume that a lot of strip clubs became tropical fish stores soon after that law was passed.

Any debt higher than 25 cents cannot be paid in pennies.

In Toronto, it is illegal to ride a streetcar on a Sunday if you have been eating garlic

In Nova Scotia you may not water your lawn when it is raining.

In Montreal it is illegal to swear in French. There is no such bar to swearing in English.

In Etobicoke you cannot take a bath in water deeper than 3.5 inches before you enter it.

In Ontario the speed limit is 80 kph. However cyclists have the right of way.

Someone wrote in with the following -- In Winnipeg Manitoba Canada it's against the law to put your garbage in someone elses garbage can even with their permission

I found this on the link you gave Kurdt. I thought Canada had some of the funniest laws. I really like #2 . I mean who got caught eating garlic in a streetcar on a sunday? What proviked this law?

mgb_phys
Homework Helper
It seems the tropical fish one is a myth, someone made it up - it got copied to a website, other sites copied it, add a lazy journalist and a slow news day..... As is the oxford student one - the rules are quite clearly printed you can trawl through them looking for it if you want.

Some of the other ones dealing with medaeval problems are true but no longer acted on - the incidence of Scots raids on York as fallen in the last few years!

There were a couple of death sentance laws (sex with a female heir to the throne, arson in a naval dockyard, piracy) left until 1998 when the UK signed upto the Human rights act which banned capital punishment, although it is still allowed in times of war.

Sometimes the old laws are used especially to stop demos. You can usually find an old law prohibiting non "freemen of the city" beng on common land which is useful for stopping peace protests.

Any debt higher than 25 cents cannot be paid in pennies.
Perhaps this is not actually the case. In the US, you are required to accept US currency and coins if they are offered in payment of a debt unless you are offered more than 25 one-cent coins. That doesn't mean that you are required to reject it, only that you are allowed to.

Some of the other ones dealing with medaeval problems are true but no longer acted on - the incidence of Scots raids on York as fallen in the last few years!
Well I guess you can thank the law for that! ;)

Chi Meson
Homework Helper
I nearly bought it one year in York. I was carrying a bow and arrow, but luckily I persuaded the citizen that I was only 1/2 Scottish. I got away with it that time, but phew that was close!

mgb_phys
Homework Helper
I nearly bought it one year in York.
Our company head office is in Scotland, so the branch in York always likes to point this one out to any visitors. I think a similair law applies to the Welsh in Chester.

A woman may dance in public wearing nothing but a piece of gauze covering her belly button.
Not all of these laws are bad . I was even thinking the US could adopt some of these.

cristo
Staff Emeritus
Our company head office is in Scotland, so the branch in York always likes to point this one out to any visitors. I think a similair law applies to the Welsh in Chester.
I think it does: something to do with a welshman under a clocktower if I recall correctly.

There's also the law that post-vans have priority over the emergency services, since they are the Royal Mail.

mgb_phys
Homework Helper
There's also the law that post-vans have priority over the emergency services, since they are the Royal Mail.
Emergency services have no right to go through red lights - and drivers have been prosecuted in an accident.

It is an offence to impeed the delivery of the mail "without good cause", which doesn't let them go through red lights - it did come up when a mail van was clamped for illegal parking. I think they dropped the case on a technicality rather than making a ruling.

Art
It seems the tropical fish one is a myth, someone made it up - it got copied to a website, other sites copied it, add a lazy journalist and a slow news day..... As is the oxford student one - the rules are quite clearly printed you can trawl through them looking for it if you want.
I don't know for sure it's true but this is from an authoratitive guide to Oxford University which seems to lend some credence to the story.

snip
Latin, indeed, is the language used in the major University ceremony -Matriculation (when students are formally admitted to the University and Degree conferrals. 'Sub Fusc' must be worn at these ancient rituals, -cap and gown are worn over dark suit and white shirt (dark skirt and white blouse for ladies). The same outfit is required for examinations, taken at the purpose-built Examination Schools in the High Street. Candidates are reputed to be able to send for cakes and ale as sustenance, but such requests are usually turned down on the grounds that the candidate is improperly dressed - lacking details such as shoes with buckles or a dress sword. It is not unusual for students to be warned that the hue of their suit is too light for regulations.
http://www.dailyinfo.co.uk/guide/unilife.html

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slugcountry
I'm sure there are plenty of very silly laws here in the US as well. No civilization is immune to such stupidity. :)

Zz.
haha you remind me of my personal favorite law:

Detonating a thermo-nuclear device within Chico city limits results in a 500 dollar fine.

J77
10. In the city of York it is legal to murder a Scotsman within the ancient city walls, but only if he is carrying a bow and arrow (two percent)
I always thought this was a Welshman in Chester.

I imagine most are old wive's tales.

e2a: I see mgb already pointed that out.

matthyaouw
Gold Member
I don't know how true this is, but I heard a pretty reasonable explanation for the do not die in parliament law. Apparently if you do, by law you get a state funeral provided for free. This law was abused somewhat with people coming from far and wide to die there. With the law, if you looked like you weren't going to last the session they could carry you out/not admit you, solving the problem.

ShawnD
Only a fully qualified electrician may change your broken light bulb. Otherwise you may receive a fine of $10. Having an electrician change your light bulb would cost more than$10, so this law is nothing more than a tax on lightbulbs :P