The UK is a state with an extensive (and often complex) legal tradition. Some laws that still exist today are as bonkers as they are fascinating! Here’s our Top 5 Laws you didn’t know existed. Read on to see if you have broken any…gulp.
You cannot ride in a taxi if you have the plague
This one is not as ancient as you may think and actually falls under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984. In fact, this law applies to any notifiable disease (not just plague-which still exists by the way!) and it is the responsibility of the passenger to inform the taxi driver of their illness.
It may be treason to place a postage stamp bearing the British King or Queen’s image upside-down
If you didn’t want to lose your head in 1848 you’d best ensure you were putting your stamps the right way up! As part of the Treason Felony Act, it could be regarded as treason to put a postage stamp with the monarch’s image the wrong way up. However, this one is more urban legend than law and has been debunked by the Royal Mail. Buckingham Palace have never confirmed or denied this though… better to be safe than sorry.
It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament
This law was a part of the original 1887 Coroner’s Act which stated that the Royal Residences would have their own coroner. As parliament is actually considered part of the Royal Household, those who perish there would be entitled to have members of the Royal family sit on the coroner’s jury and maybe even have a state funeral! This raised eyebrows regarding parliamentary privilege and was amended in 1988.
You cannot operate a cow while intoxicated
This one sounds rather specific, and it is. From the Licensing Act 1872, operating a cow is illegal if you have had one too many at ye olde pub! But the law doesn’t stop at just cows. It is illegal to operate or be in charge of a steam engine, firearm and horses and carriages if you are drunk.
You are not allowed to handle salmon in suspicious circumstances
This is by the far the most unusual yet and is from the Salmon Act 1986. What actually classes as suspicious seems to be open to interpretation-can we walk down the street with a salmon? Talk to it? Keep it as a pet? Officially this law relates only to the taking, killing or landing of salmon. If you’re found guilty under this law you may be imprisoned for up to two years-this is certainly enough of put us off salmon for dinner!
If you found all that very interesting, why not consider a Law and Practice degree at CU Coventry, CU Scarborough or CU London. CU Coventry also offers CILEX Level 3, 6 or Graduate Fast track courses.