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Sunday, 3 November 2013

UK's 10 Weirdest Laws

You have probably heard of weird or completely wrong laws all over the world. Some are left from older times, when values and morals were different, however, some have no justification what so ever. Well, the United Kingdom is no exception to this. Here are the crown's ten most bizarre laws.

1. Scolding is branded illegal

A woman scolding her daughter
A ruthless crime in the act
In 1585 a law was passed that announced scolding in a public for an offence and was persecuted to the law. As unbelievable as it may sound, there was even punishment for the ones that scolded. The "cold-hearted" criminals had to wear a scolder's bridle or in some cases - a metal cage around their head. Some sources indicate of a third punishment for scolding. It was called "the ducking chair". As you might have already guessed, the offenders were strapped to a chair and then repeatedly ducked in water.

In the 15-16 century witch hunts there was a trial witches were forces to perform. They were suspended, tied of course, into water and if they drowned, the charges in witch craft were stripped off. Of course, since nobody lived, hunters never acquired proof of them being witches.

Whether the similarity between the two cases is pure coincidence or not can't be answered, as there is no evidence of connection. However, I'm beginning to wonder whether the term "nagging hag" doesn't have anything to do with it.

In 1967 the law was announced as obsolete and therefore scolding was no longer an offence. Together with it, four more offences were stripped down: to challenge to a fight, to eavesdrop, to be a night walker and to be a grumbler.

If to reprimand your child on the street meant to possibly drown while you're being persecuted, I can only imagine what punishment was administered when you've picked up a bar fight.

2. You may not operate a farm animal or steam engine while intoxicated

A man riding a fake cow
Clear disregard for the law
Section 12 of the Licensing Act 1872 forbids to take charge of steam engines, horses, cows or carriages in public places. The fine for such an offence was 200 pounds or imprisonment for a month.
Also it was a crime to possess a loaded firearm while drunk, which for the first time in this article, make a bit of sense.

You feel a bit tipsy? Well, you better leave the keys for the cow at the bar and take a cab.
And while we're on the topic of cabs, here comes number three.

3. You are not allowed on a taxi or any other public transport...Wait for it... If you have the plague

A grumpy bus driver
Turn around! No plague allowed inside.
This law, we can say, is pretty shiny, since it's contained in the Public Health Act from 1985. It prohibits anyone with notifiable disease, including plague, small pox, typhus and cholera from use of public transportation, without notification to the driver of their condition. Any violation is punished by a fine.

The same act says no bus driver is allowed to transport carriers of such diseases, while other passengers are on. However, to stop you, they need to willingly expose themselves to your condition. Since any man has the right to protect himself of dangers to his or her health, it's rather interesting which comes first.

As written in the act, after you inform the driver of the transport of your condition, he or she has a right to provide their service. The only condition is to have the vehicle disinfected afterwards.

Along public transport, people with notifiable diseases were banned from public libraries, community centres and hospitals.

I wonder how would the sick get treated, but hey, the law is the law..

4. Hackney Carriages in London have to carry a bale of hay and a sack of oats

A truck loaded with bales of hay
A cab driver restocking his vehicle

The law is still in effect since hundreds of years. Hackney has become a synonym for a taxi and although the last licensed horse drawn carriage surrendered it's permit in 1947, taxi drivers still have to carry the hay and oats just to be in law. 

Manufacturing companies have even produced tiny bales and sacks to not interfere with the drivers work and still be legal.

5. It's legal to shoot a Scotsman with a crossbow in York

A man running with a crossbow
Defender of justice
Since times when military conflicts between England, Scotland and Wales were a popular occurrence , security laws still take action in UK's constitution. Because there were no borders, England prohibited foreigners to enter the land, so when one is spotted, precautions against an invasion can be taken.

In York, to this day, it is completely legal to shoot a Scotsman with a crossbow, unless it's Sunday. However, if the Scotsman is drunk, even on Sundays they can be shot, except with a bow and arrow.

A similar law exists in Chester. Within the city walls, any resident is free to kill a Welsh with a crossbow after midnight. Also, Welsh are not allowed in the city before sunrise and after midnight.

I can see how these laws once were a necessity, however, for them to be active in modern days is just hilarious. I'm astonished I never heard of a case where somebody took their trusty crossbow and massacred a bunch of haggis-munching folk.

6. It's an offence to be drunk in public, but the shopkeeper will take the blame

A man passed out in a urinal
It's the bartender's fault
"It is an offence for the keeper of a place of public resort to permit drunkenness in the house. Further, under the Licensing Act 2003, section 140, it is an offence to allow disorderly conduct and under section 141 it is an offence to sell alcohol to an intoxicated person."

In other words, you can freely drown yourself in alcohol and the pub master will be the one who gets the fine.
 They can't allow you to get drunk, which means they have to stop selling you their alcohol. In the end every bartender has to make the choice between less profit or a fine.

7. No employer can give a bad reference to their workers

A man holding a coffee mug with the text "word's best boss"
Here... Your recommendation is ready
A lot of employers were brought down with a quotation of the law. Apparently, no boss can provide a reference where the employee can feel their character tarnished. However, an employer can submit anything else he wants if he is prepared to justify it in the court of law.

I just imagine how much fun a boss can have with his not so deserving ex-employees.

"...John Peter Jefferson possesses an incredible ability to defecate for hours while in work time..."

 8. A pregnant woman can relieve herself anywhere she wants

A fountain of a urinating man
The real deal would be too inappropriate

Remember this when they pee on the bus seat right in front of you. 
The only exception to this law is whatever it is she discharges cannot have contact with you. 
If it does, they are liable for impairment of human rights.

So remember kids, public urination is only a felony if you haven't stuffed a pillow under your shirt.

9. Under the terms of the Prohibition and Inspections Act of 1998 it is a crime to cause a nuclear explosion

A frightened man
A terrorist's reaction to the law
Well, I guess some terrorists just don't get it. It's the only explanation a law like that has seen day light.
A good idea is to keep printed copies, just in case you see a suspicious Afghan snooping around Big Ben.

Nothing will protect the country better than a written prohibition by the crown.

Beware suicide bombers, there is plenty of space in prison for your ruthless crimes.

10. It's illegal to carry salmon under suspicious circumstances

A man holding a salmon
The notorious salmon dealer - James Foster
The Salmon Act of 1986 states ‘it is illegal to handle salmon under suspicious circumstances’. The act also has a strict regulation on illegal possession or trade in salmon.

Last but not least, beware of street salmon dealers. Those are one of the most dangerous gangsters in the world. If you see one, report it to the police immediately.

To the right is the shot-caller of the biggest salmon Mafia organization in the UK.

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