Strange Stuff: Odd UK Laws
In our great country’s long history there have been thousands of laws made and passed by the monarch and parliament that have served to uphold justice and ensure the safety of the public.
There are some laws, however, that will make many people wonder if the person who suggested them was either drunk or taking some form of hallucinogenic drug. Either way, these wacky laws are some of the most ridiculous ever conceived.
In 1965, the UK began to update its legal system. Over two thousand obsolete, outdated and strange laws have been removed since then, but plenty of funny laws still exist today.
One odd-ball law believed to be urban myth is that it is illegal to die in the houses of parliament - this doesn’t bode too well for many of the ageing dinosaurs in the House of Lords. According to legal experts, as parliament is still classed as a royal palace, any death of an MP (or Lord) would in theory have required members of the royal household to sit as the coroner's jury. As this raises all sorts of questions of parliamentary privilege, such as the right to a state funeral, the polite convention arose that no parliamentarian dies until they are safely in the ambulance to a hospital.
With the current issues surrounding MP’s expenses, one of them receiving a royal burial would certainly anger the public even further!
We all know that trespassing is illegal, but did you know that you are exempt to that rule if you are a huer or baulker? Didn’t think so. An Act of 1603 that still exists today comes from an ancient custom in Cornwall. People known as “huers and baulkers” would stand on the cliffs and shout to fishing boats, directing them toward schools of fish to net. The Act gives those on the cliffs the right of entry onto the lands of others, and a defence against trespassing on the property.
And for those who like to lie in on Sunday, it is illegal to shave, work and mow your lawn on the day of the Sabbath. Although you don’t have to be doing all three at once to be arrested, you are still flouting the law if you tend to some work emails or shave your facial fuzz off before Monday, so err on the side of caution if you don’t want to be banged up!
Other weird laws prohibit people from firing cannons near dwellings unlawfully, having sex with another man if there is another person in the house, and if you happen to catch a sturgeon on your next fishing trip you need to report to Buckingham Palace immediately, as the tail belongs to the Queen.