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UK moves to prune backlog of ridiculous laws

By T.K. Randall
December 19, 2015 · Comment icon 9 comments

The UK still maintains some rather antiquated laws. Image Credit: CC BY 3.0 Joseph Plotz
British legislation states that it is illegal to wear a full suit of armor in the Houses of Parliament.
The United Kingdom has accumulated rather a lot of laws over the centuries and many of them, having been devised hundreds of years ago, are now so redundant that they are laughable.

Examples of this include the fact that it is still illegal to fire a cannon within 300 yards of someone's house or to beat a carpet in the street unless it is done before 8am in the morning.

There are so many ridiculous and outdated laws in fact that the government has a a whole team of officials working behind the scenes to go through them all and prune out the useless ones.
Other examples of nonsensical laws that still exist in the UK include:
  • Since 1939 it has been illegal to carry a plank of wood down the street
  • It is illegal to 'handle a salmon under suspicious circumstances'
  • It is considered illegal to use obscene language inside a library
  • When walking down the street it is illegal to slide on ice or snow
  • It is illegal to die inside the Houses of Parliament
In total there are believed to be more than 44,000 pieces of primary legislation to process.

"To have a legal situation where there is so much information that you cannot sit down and comprehend it, does seem to me a serious problem," said legal historian Andrew Lewis.

"I think it matters dreadfully that no one can get a handle on the whole of it."

Source: New York Times | Comments (9)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Chibadiba 9 years ago
How exactly does one "handle a salmon under suspicious circumstances"?
Comment icon #2 Posted by Norbert the Powerful 9 years ago
How exactly does one "handle a salmon under suspicious circumstances"? I expect they mean poaching. Poached salmon is a big problem.
Comment icon #3 Posted by paperdyer 9 years ago
Since you can't die in Parliament the attendance must be low.
Comment icon #4 Posted by rashore 9 years ago
Yep, the salmon law refers to illegal fishing. I think the illegal to slide on ice and snow might refer to when children, particularly boys, were prone to sliding for fun- the had harder soled shoes way back when, and it's rather a lot of fun to slide on purpose.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Sir Wearer of Hats 9 years ago
Because there is nothing else for them to be focusing on SMH.....
Comment icon #6 Posted by Paranomali 9 years ago
I wonder how the salmon one came into being. Strange people around back in the day
Comment icon #7 Posted by Norbert the Powerful 9 years ago
I wonder how the salmon one came into being. Strange people around back in the day That's one of the ones that make more sense, or did at the I suppose, since they're pretty valuable and stealing them would I expect have been frowned upon, particularly as according to law they belong to whoever's land the river passes through at that point.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Yamato 9 years ago
A lot of people must have gotten hurt by other people carrying planks of wood way back in the day. But the spectacle of someone being busted for it today would look like a Monty Python
Comment icon #9 Posted by Norbert the Powerful 9 years ago
A lot of people must have gotten hurt by other people carrying planks of wood way back in the day. But the spectacle of someone being busted for it today would look like a Monty Python You couldn't move in Laurel & Hardy or Buster Keaton movies for people walking about carrying planks over their shoulder, and then turning round suddenly and knocking you flying or putting them through windows. Right hazard to public safety it was.


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