On Weird Law Friday, we can poke fun at just about any country around the world, and this week it's going to be England. The United States is also home to some pretty strange laws, many of which we doubt are even enforced. Nevertheless, these legal relics from times long forgotten continue to persist in the dusty volumes of legal books in the basements of city halls across America. Well, you're about to discover that England is no exception, so we've ranked them on the scale of weirdness.
Strange Laws of England: Weirdness Level I
- If you put the queen's stamp on your parcel upside-down, it's an official act of treason. Is this why all the packages say "This Side Up?"
- If a male driver has to urinate, he can do so in public areas, so long as he keeps his stream pointed at the rear wheel of his car and keeps one hand (his right one) touching the vehicle at all times. Maybe they're trying to avoid slip-and-fall accidents with this one.
- In Birmingham, a man and woman are not permitted to have sexual relations on the steps of a church, after sunset.
Strange Laws of England: Weirdness Level II
- No Welsh people are allowed inside the city walls of Chester after sunset. Were the Welsh vampires?
- It is unlawful to hail a taxi in London if you are suffering from the plague. Whether that would be the Bubonic Plague or the Black Plague (or any garden variety plague) we do not know.
- Women were legally permitted to bite off a man's nose, in 1837, if he stole an unwanted kiss from her. This one seems perfectly reasonable.
Strange Laws of England: Weirdness Level III
- Whenever a dead whale washes up along the English shoreline, it is immediately the King and Queen's property. The King gets the head and the Queen gets the tail.
- Cabbies in England are not allowed to drive around town with corpses or rabid dogs in their vehicle.
- The United Kingdom passed a law called Tax Avoidance Schemes Regulations in 2006. This law says it's unlawful for people to refrain from telling an official tax representative information they do not want to share. However, if one does not mind telling the taxman the information, it is not legally required to inform him. If you can make sense of that one then you might want to consider becoming a barrister.
There you have it. The weirdest of the weirdest laws from England. Now we can all travel safely amongst our English brethren when visiting the Tower of London and the English countryside. Bon Voyage!
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