Top Ten Most Crazy Laws In The UK

Written by: Luke Ward
Reading time: 3 mins
Last updated: March 17, 2021

In York it is perfectly legal to shoot a Scotsman with a crossbow upon seeing one, except for on Sundays.

Funny Laws in the UK

The United Kingdom set up The Law Commission in 1965.

This much-needed independent body was set up to update the countries legal system and push for reforms where needed.

Since its implementation, over two thousand outdated laws have been repealed, but not all of them!

I guess some of the old rules are so ridiculous and so outdated that they didn’t feel a need to change those laws.

Here’s just a handful of some of the funniest ones that are still in place today.

It’s illegal to enter the House of Parliaments wearing a suit of armor.

The House of Parliaments in London

A 1313 Statute Forbidding Bearing of Armour, forbids members of Parliament from entering the House while wearing armor.

This particular statute was put into place after a period of political turmoil.

It’s legal to shoot a Scotsman under certain circumstances.

A cartoon drunk Scotsman

Only in York, the law states that it is legal to shoot a Scotsman with a crossbow upon seeing one, except for on Sundays.

However, any Scotsman caught drunk or with a weapon can still be shot on a Sunday, except with a bow and arrow.

Similarly, in Chester, it is legal to shoot a Welsh person with a crossbow, as long as it is within the city walls and is done after midnight.

It’s treason to misplace a postage stamp.

Stamps on letters bearing Queen Elizabeth

Placing a postage stamp bearing the monarch’s head upside down on an envelope is considered an act of treason.

Also, defacing or destroying anything bearing a likeness of the monarch is illegal.

This means that burning paper money, bending coins or tearing a postage stamp is against the law.

It is illegal to gamble in a library.

A British library

The Library Offenses Act of 1898 makes it illegal to gamble in a library.

The law also prohibits abusive or obscene language.

This would mean that online gambling at a library would be against the law, even if you’re using your own laptop.

Trespassing is okay for certain people.

A sign saying 'Private - no public right of way'

Trespassing is illegal, except by huers and baulkers. An Act of 1603 comes from an ancient custom in Cornwall.

People known as huers and baulkers would stand on the cliffs and shout to fishing boats, directing them toward schools of fish.

The Act gives those on the cliffs the right of entry onto the lands of others and defense against trespassing.

It’s against the law to shake a carpet.

A boy hitting a rug on a washing line

Under the Metropolitan Police Act of 1839, it’s illegal to beat or shake a mat, carpet, or rug in the streets of London.

The only time you may beat them is before 8 am. So set your alarm – you’ve been warned!

You can’t use a cow, horse, or steam engine while drunk.

Cow with a shocked face

Think you can’t get a DUI for drunken horse riding? Think again.

The Licensing Act of 1872 explains that operating a cow, horse or steam engine while intoxicated carries either a prison sentence or a fine.

It’s illegal to handle salmon in suspicious circumstances.

A man holding a salmon

This is a recent law, which is even more absurd.

But under the Salmon Act of 1986, it is an offence to receive or dispose of salmon under suspicious circumstances.

Officers have a right to investigate if they reasonable believe that the salmon has been illegally fished.

All beaches whales and sturgeons belong to the reigning monarch.

A UK beach

By the law from Edward II in 1324, all sturgeons and whales should be offered to the reigning monarch in case they want them.

Along with dolphins and porpoises, they are considered royal fish and any captured within 3 miles of shore, or wash ashore, should be first offered to the crown.

It’s illegal to carry a plank along the pavement.

A man carrying a plank in the streets of London

Another law from the Metropolitan Police Act, it is an offence to carry a plank on the sidewalk.

This Act also includes flying kites on the street and sliding on ice on the sidewalk.

 

Well there are some stupid laws from the United Kingdom I can proudly say I have broken four of the laws above!

If you know of any more please leave them in a comment!

Leave A Comment

10 Comments

  1. tanisha November 3, 2020

    Wow! Lived in the UK all my life and still never knew ANY of these facts- that’s a bragging point I can say to my friends ;)

    also I think there should be a huge thing where all the important people and commoners as well come together to decide which laws are unorthodox and unnecessary and which ones are relevant to today’s times

  2. Bob 67 July 15, 2020

    I believe that taxis must carry a bail of hay, and that you break the law if you do not eat goose on Christmas Day.

  3. FluffyPolarbear May 23, 2020

    I never knew any of these strange laws… I have lived in the UK for almost 3 years.😊

  4. Cohen March 31, 2020

    In the uk it’s illegal to not carry a spar poop bag of your walking a dog punishable
    with a $500 fine so if you throw away a full bag you can still be fined!

  5. Rosalyn September 1, 2019

    Since it is already illegal in the UK to execute someone no matter how above the law you are, I highly doubt that fact number nine is correct.

  6. Joshua June 24, 2018

    Has anyone broken the 3rd law? If so, you traitor!

  7. Bob October 13, 2016

    Many of these have been reworded from the original so badly that it obscures the original laws. For example the one about your pets and Royal animals? Its a question of it being treason, it is much clearer if you say its treason. The one about a pregnant woman is so mashed that it doesn’t resemble the actual original.
    Overall I would say that Mr Ward just copied these facts from someone else’s work and reworded them so badly that it isn’t nearly as informative as it could be.

  8. Bob October 13, 2016

    With respect to the laws about libraries: usually the act of gambling is deemed to take place at the servers of the operating company and not with the users device.

  9. 10orobin January 10, 2012

    it is illegal to slap a policeman or policelady with a fish.

    It is legal for under 10s to do anything they please and not get in trouble with the law.

    It is illegal to draw graffiti of a monarch.

    it is legal to slap a monarch.

    1. FluffyPolarbear May 23, 2020

      I guess they make sense. But you should not hit a police lady or policeman or anybody anyway!