Weird & Wonderful British Laws

Great Britain has a rather colourful history that spans hundreds of years. War, peace, plague, conspiracies, irrational (read: crazy) monarchs and religion have all played a part in the creation of some of the strangest laws in the world.

Many of these laws date back hundreds of years, but still exist today, despite being rather out of date. Since 1965, the Law Commission has been charged with getting rid of some of these laws or bringing them up to date, but there are still those that survive…


Image: Salvatore Vuono /

So, without further ado, here’s a list of 10 really rather bizarre UK laws:

1. Virtually every man in the country is breaking the law on a daily basis: all men over the age of 14 must carry out two hours of longbow practice a day.

2. A pregnant woman is legally entitled to relieve herself anywhere she chooses, even in a policeman’s helmet!

3. In the city of Chester, it is actually legal to shoot a Welshman with a bow and arrow – but only within the city walls, and only after midnight.

4. On that note, it’s also legal in York to shoot a Scotsman – but only on Sundays, and only if he’s carrying a bow and arrow.

5. If you accidentally place your stamp so the Queen’s head is upside down, you’ve just committed treason.

6. Anyone entering the houses of Parliament wearing a suit of armour can be arrested.

Houses of Parliament

Image: Jon Whiles /

7. It is illegal to stop and pick up an animal you have hit with your car, however, the person behind you is perfectly entitled to do so.

8. Thinking of hanging your bed out of the window? (And who doesn’t from time to time…?) Don’t. This is illegal too.

9. Under the UK’s Tax Avoidance Schemes Regulations (2006), it’s illegal not to tell the taxman anything you don’t want him to know. But you are allowed to not tell him anything you don’t mind him knowing.

10. It is illegal to flag down a taxi in London if you have the plague.

There are plenty of other crazy UK laws – this is just a selection of the slightly more eccentric. But, isn’t that what us Brits are famous for, our eccentricity? It would be a shame if our law didn’t reflect that, just a little bit!


Author Bio: Helen Laird writes for Andrew & Co. LLP Solicitors in Lincoln, UK. Serving the East Midlands since 1832., Andrew & Co are an independent firm of solicitors with offices in Newark-on-Trent and Lincoln, specialising in motor law, personal injury law & employment law.

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