Have a look at these 5 funny and outdated laws
The UK Legal system is the finest in the world; a jewel in our national crown that underpins every aspect of our day-to-day life. Nevertheless, it is not without its quirks. As time has changed, certain laws have not aged well; some have become antiquated, archaic and outdated. Others now seem down-right ridiculous.
For example, while most of us could claim to be law-abiding citizens, most of us wouldn’t know it was illegal to be drunk and in charge of a cow in Scotland – nor would we expect police sirens if we jumped the queue in a tube ticket hall. But these are just a few of the strange laws that still exist in British constitution.
Of course, most of the weirdest UK laws have now been repealed – but a trip down memory lane reveals some remarkable rules – some that are long gone and others that somehow made it into present day:
1. According to the Salmon Act 1986, it’s illegal to handle fish in a suspicious circumstance.
The next time you’re eating Eggs Royale, you might want to consider how you go about eating the fish. According to this peculiar piece of legislation, it’s illegal to handle fish in a suspicious manner. In a study by The University of Law, 2000 UK residents were polled to see if the nation can spot which laws are real, and which are fake. The Salmon Act 1986 proved particularly baffling to respondents, with two-thirds (65%) of those surveyed believing it to be fake, when in fact it is a real law that has been in place since the aforementioned year.
2. Until 1960, every Englishman from the ages of 17 to 69 was required to keep and practice with a longbow.
It may have since been repealed, but until 1960, you could count on every Englishman you met between the ages of 17 to 69 to have a certain ability with a longbow. Okay, in reality, it’s unlikely everyman practiced – in fact, it’s likely to have only been the longbow enthusiasts who made the effort. In 1960, The Unlawful Games Act 1541 was repealed, and men no longer had to dedicate two hours of week to practice.
3. Feeling peckish on the commute? It was once illegal for women to eat chocolate on public transport.
There is no known reason as to why this law was once in place, but in the 19thcentury, it was illegal for women to eat chocolate on public transport. Crisps, on the other hand, were not off limits, but any commuter with common decency should know to avoid cheese and onion flavour if they want the respect of their fellow passengers.
4. The Licensing Act of 1872 forbids anyone to be drunk while in charge of a cow
Farmers ought to spend their Friday nights away from their animals if they want to abide by UK law and avoid a penalty fine of up to £1,200. The Licensing Act of 1872 further prevents those under the influence of alcohol to be in charge of horses and steam engines. In general, we think it’s best to avoid controlling any mode of transport while drunk, be it dairy cow or a train!
5. Hanging your washing up across the street will cost you a hefty fee
Thinking about taking advantage of the good weather to hang your clothes outside to dry? Think carefully about where you pin your line: according to an old British law, it’s illegal to erect a washing line across the street. We all know not to air our dirty laundry, but according to this law, it’s the clean washing that could get us in real trouble.