10 Most Ridiculous British Laws

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Besides our foriegn policy, gun laws, capital punishment, punitive damages (which I support), obesity, and a host of other things, the U.S. is often ridiculed abroad for many of its absurd and antiquated laws. Many of these silly laws (generally civil causes of action) continue to exist, such as Alienation of Affection. Although they are no longer taken seriously by the courts they survive as vestiges of the Common Law. Some were codified and others were not, but many have simply remained as outdated, although not overturned, jurisprudence or statutory law and have essentially been rendered too ludicrous to be enforceable or actionable.

Today on Yahoo, I came across a list of the Most Ridiculous British Laws. It makes you feel a little better about being American. Here are the Top 10 (as voted by Brits):

  1. It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament (27 percent)
  2. It is an act of treason to place a postage stamp bearing the British monarch upside-down (seven percent)
  3. In Liverpool, it is illegal for a woman to be topless except as a clerk in a tropical fish store (six percent)
  4. Mince pies cannot be eaten on Christmas Day (five percent)
  5. In Scotland, if someone knocks on your door and requires the use of your toilet, you must let them enter (four percent)
  6. A pregnant woman can legally relieve herself anywhere she wants, including in a policeman’s helmet (four percent)
  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 percent)
  8. It is illegal to avoid telling the tax man anything you do not want him to know, but legal not to tell him information you do not mind him knowing (three percent)
  9. It is illegal to enter the Houses of Parliament in a suit of armour (three percent)
  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)
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