The law within the UK is changing pretty much all the time. We are always introduced to new concepts through Parliament, in addition to some that have been around for hundreds and hundreds of years. For that reason, we can be sure of why some of the laws are ones that we actually do not know anything about!
Sometimes due to not knowing anything of the current and past laws, you may have even found yourself breaking some, when looking through our weird UK laws list. But never fear, you will find out everything you need to know and enlighten yourself more through this handy guide of ours. If you happen to not believe us, the internet is yours to further explore and double check. Without further ado, read every single weird law that we are sure you may have broken at least once in your time…
1. Jumping queues at London subways
Yes, we kid you not! This rule has most definitely been broken once by yourself and us too. Getting through the congestion within London, in between the underground stations is such a pain and being impatient, definitely takes the better of us. So none of us can ever be innocent enough here. But we are guessing the fact that most people do this, is a huge indication that perhaps the law announcement got lost in the mail somehow?
It will not be likely that you will be arrested for obstructing rules, however many people don't tend to like to see other people jumping queues in front of them, so you may have to deal with an angry mob instead..
2. Singing inappropriate songs in public
This one is something you would never actually consider, as don't football fans do this every single time at matches? But according to the police act of 1839, none should ever sing indecent songs or ballads that may have language to annoy surrounding inhabitants. Of course, if you just want to sing a jolly song through the streets, perhaps ‘Singing in the Rain’ when it is actually raining, no one will bother you then will they? Keep it clean and you will be more than fine, just perhaps make sure that your singing is of a decent level to be singing out loud. Weird.
3. You can shoot a Scotsman with a bow and arrow legally
This law we are sure is a little bit confusing and perhaps even a little bit disheartening to read. But yes, Scotsmen can be shot by a crossbow or bow and arrow in certain regions of the UK. It is only legal within the region of York, but you must remain free of this act of violence from Sundays, as Sundays are the day of God. This weird law continues by saying if you happen to see a drunk Scotsman on Sunday then the law changes all together and you will be able and free to shoot at your will. Let us just say, we really do not know what to say to that to be honest.
4. Polish potatoes are illegal to import
We bet you definitely didn't know about this one right? Well, if as an individual, you are after making an importing business of goods to the UK, make sure potatoes from Poland are left off of that list. Why? Because in 2004 the rise in potato disease ring rot was livid and to prevent its spread to the UK, a law was placed to stop that chance. Has it been lifted since then though? Nope. The weird law very much still remains and we suppose it was just too much hassle to get the polish economy back up and running through the UK.
5. Whales need to be offered to a Monarch of Britain
Back in 1322, there was a weird law where they made it compulsory for any beached whale found to be handed up to the reigning monarch of the land. The reason behind it was that King Edward at the time wanted to make sure that all exotic food was kept in the control and privilege of the rich and noble. This of course still kind of remains relevant today. In 2004 a gentleman actually presented a beached whale to the queen, who declined the offer all together and was happy for him to use the fish in whichever he saw fit. This unfortunately did catch up to him later on, as people wanted him to undergo a criminal investigation due to the fact sturgeons and wales are a protected mammal within the United Kingdom.
6. Gambling is not permitted within libraries
We did not particularly know this and suppose it is now only that we do! Due to the old laws in Great Britain, gambling within the library is very much forbidden. This is due to the the fact that probably back in the day, before people could play silently from their own mobile phone casino, you could cause quite an annoyance and public disturbance, if you casually decided to show up with some friends and poker table it out, in the middle of a public silent library, no? But if you are planning on killing some time in the library, nothing should stop you from having a (quiet) session from your mobile phone. Maybe stick those headphones in too and try to control your emotions should you horribly lose. Definitely a thought to take forward. Sometimes a dramatic loss of your money will not be one of a silent reaction…
7. You can get a fine for flying a kite
So flying a kite is generally seen as a very innocent thing to do, when in the park with some friends and family. But I bet you never knew that you could actually be on the other end of a fine, if you happen to be annoying people in the process of you handling the kite. Maybe if you decide to fly a kite, try and opt for a place that has tonnes of space, so you do not ruin anyone's picnics in the park perhaps? Because if anyone does know of this law and actually decides to report you for it, you could be facing up to a £500 fine because of it! So choose wisely and fly that kite way away from people.
8. Wood equipment for building projects cannot be carried in the streets of London
Okay, so this one we admit is a little odd, as we are sure we have seen many builders walk through the city of london with equipment and wood to tend their local projects. Even Eastenders have local builders carrying wood in their scenes too! But according to the Police Act of 1839, you could receive a £500 fine for not paying attention to this law and abiding by it. That definitely ruins all our wooden project plans across the streets of london…Just kidding.
9. Hanging your washing outside is a no-no
So, apparently flashing those underwear garments and panties is something to alert the police by! In the eastern areas of Yorkshire, residents are not permitted to hang their washing from the outsides of their homes. Reasons for this is that it can ruin the visual look and appearance of the buildings within the area, and is called out for being visual pollution. So we suppose that having an indoor maiden is the way to go then, to avoid foreseeable fines, or even a clothes dryer, if you happen to have one of course. Many residents of the area; especially from the upper wealthier ends of Yorkshire, believe this to be a public nuisance and have encouraged local councils to hand out fines to whoever does not oblige by keeping to the rules. Suppose you cannot have it all these days can you? If hanging the washing from your own home can get you into some trouble, whatever will happen next?
10. You are obliged to let people use your toilet
We admit we are not so keen on this one… But back in the day when there were many travellers and traders travelling to and from cities, if anyone actually came knocking to your house in need of the toilet, you will need to oblige and let them through! Of course, we do not actually think a fine was involved if you did not, as it probably is just a courtesy. So it really does come down to the fact of, if you would not mind to let a stranger into your home to pee? We certainly would not ask, but it seems many people actually do…
11. No suits of armour in parliament
Parliament is not a place we would casually turn up to, but say if you happen to want to go on ‘important business’, do not forget to leave your suit of armour at home… Yes, the law from 1313 states that no one is permitted to wear any armour when attending or visiting the house of parliament. This is probably to prevent any attack or intimidating behavior, for the protection of everyone in attendance, including members of the royal family. The punishment for wearing it we would presume would be some form of medieval punishments and therefore we cannot really comment on the extent of the punishments that people would ultimately face. Nevertheless, you know now not to turn up in armour at parliament!
12. Handle salmon with caution
Yes, even salmon in suspicious circumstances have laws in the UK! The Salmon Act 1986, states that you should not handle salmon suspiciously. So what does that mean exactly? Well, you will need to make sure that you sell salmon with the correct procedures, manners and trading procedures. It sounds silly, we know, but we suppose it is a way to ensure everyone who uses salmon as a form of trade, must make sure they handle it with the best practices for the UK standards.
13. No intoxication in pubs please
This obviously is a little ridiculous as who does not go to the pub without getting slightly drunk, right? This however dates way back into 1872, meaning we suppose not many people actually pay attention to it nowadays? But what we do know is, if you happen to break that law, you actually can get penalised by a £200 fine. This could be for your couple of beers and ciders outside and let's face it, alcohol out and about is not that cheap at all; so who wants to get a fine on top of that these days anyway?
14. Do not knock and run
Yes this practical joke was a thing that everyone did back in their childhood, yet we are sure nobody actually knew that it is a public disturbance within the law. The police act 1854 does actually not condone such behavior and states it to be an illegal act, because you are disturbing inhabitants that are living peacefully. Unless you have a valid reason as to why you are knocking at a person's house, you should not do it. I suppose this would mean that halloween this year will be slightly more disappointing than the last, no? Don't want to behave? Then be ready for a £500 fine, if you get caught of course…
15. Shaking a rug before 8 am: do not do it!
Shaking your rug before 8.am is not allowed full stop. As silly as this sounds, back in 1854, the Police Act put this as a compulsory rule for all to follow. Why? Because the noise can be very disturbing to surrounding inhabitants in the early morning. But we suppose after 8am, you are pretty much good to go? It is not just rugs that need to be cleaned however, that are stopped. Even simple cleaning in the early morning, handling of sewage etc is not allowed to happen. If you do disregard the rules, then you will need to ensure that you are prepared for the £500 fine that will come your way.
It is quite humorous looking back at all the certain rules and obligations that we have listed in our weird UK laws guide. Some things are quite dated and that is probably why you can get away with them today. Gambling in libraries is definitely one to take with a pinch of salt as many of us today do manage to gamble peacefully and flexibly from our mobile phones. Also there are actual casinos that we can go to guys too! Who needs a library to gamble in, when the atmosphere is nowhere near what you would get in your typical everyday casino venue?
Make sure to check out our guides on where to actually find the most luxurious casinos today, if you happen to be in need of a new spot to play in.