Monday, 31 March 2014

Using Your Imagination Is Against The Law!

By Stephen Oldham, Solicitor and senior member of the Geoffrey Miller team

In the spirit of April Fools’ Day we have trawled the government’s website and found some laws that you would be forgiven for thinking were part of an April Fools’ gag! All of the laws are shown by the site as still being in force. We hope that the government’s data is up-to-date.
Don’t imagine deposing the Queen!
The Treason Act 1848 says:
“If any person whatsoever shall, within the United Kingdom or without, compass, imagine, invent, devise, or intend to deprive or depose our Most Gracious Lady the Queen, from the style, honour, or royal name of the imperial crown of the United Kingdom…”
So it seems that if you were just to imagine deposing the Queen you could be guilty of treason. The law goes on to say that you would be punished
to be transported beyond the seas for the term or his or her natural life”.
We think that deportation is no longer allowed but it could be a good way to get your fare paid to visit relatives in Australia!!
Don’t get drunk in the pub!

It might not be a surprise to know that it is illegal to be found drunk in the street but you might be shocked to know that it is illegal to be drunk in the pub!!
Section 12 of the Licensing Act 1872 is still in force. I says that
Every person found drunk … on any licensed premises, shall be liable to a penalty.”
Fortunately you can’t be thrown in jail but you could be landed with a hefty fine.
No driving cattle through London between 10am and 7pm
The Metropolitan Streets Act 1867 prohibits the driving or conducting of any cattle through any street between the hours of 10.00 in the morning and 7.00 in the evening except with the permission of the Commissioner of Police. Any person driving or conducting cattle in contravention of this section shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding ten shillings for each head of cattle so driven or conducted.
No riding in a taxi if you have a disease
It is illegal for a person (knowingly) with a notifiable disease to use a taxi or try and ride on a bus. The law prohibits any person who knows that they have a notifiable disease (including the plague, cholera, small pox, relapsing fever) from entering any form of public conveyance (taxi) without first telling the driver of the conveyance. The taxi driver should also not allow the person to ride if they know they suffer from a notifiable disease. However, if they do, they must then have the cab immediately disinfected. This is part of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, sections 33 and 34: Public Conveyances. Both offences are liable to summary conviction of a fine not exceeding level 1.
No splashing people
According to the magistrates in Chelmsford it is illegal to splash people by driving through a puddle. Motorist Samuel Lees was convicted of driving without due care and attention when he soaked a mother and her children. He was even given 6 penalty points and a fine of £500.
Don’t blow your nose or even eat an apple when you are driving
According to this article in theDaily Telegraph the police have been pretty enthusiastic in prosecuting motorist for things that some people might think are every day occurrences.

  • ·      Eating an apple whilst carrying out a perfectly executed left turn;
  • ·      Blowing your nose whilst stationary in traffic with the handbrake on; and
  • ·      A man was even stopped in Liverpool for laughing whilst driving. He got away with a warning not to do it again!
Some more laws that we have heard of

There are plenty more laws that we have heard of that may still be in force. We haven’t been able to verify any of these but they make interesting reading.

  • ·      It is legal for a male to urinate in public, as long it is on the rear wheel of his motor vehicle and his right hand is on the vehicle;
  • ·      A bed may not be hung out of a window;
  • ·      Taxi drivers are required to ask all passengers if they have smallpox or the plague;
  • ·      Any person found breaking a boiled egg at the sharp end will be sentenced to 24 hours in the village stocks (enacted by Edward VI)
  • ·      Any boy under the age of 10 may not see a naked mannequin;
  • ·      Throughout the whole of England it is illegal to eat mince pies on the 25th of December;
  • ·      In the Cathedral Close of Hereford and within the city walls of Chester it is legal to shoot a Welshman with a long bow. It is also legal to shoot a Scotsman within the city walls of York, providing he is carrying a bow and arrow, except on Sundays of course! These laws were made to keep out Welsh and Scottish invasions before Britain became united as one.
Some of these laws are clearly laughable but it is no laughing matter if you are accused of a motoring offence that could see you lose your licence, or in extreme cases, lose your liberty! Our team of motoring law experts will be able to guide you through options that you may not know to be available and bring relief to what we understand can be a very trying time. Give us a call on 08000 85 27 84 for a no strings chat if you are in need of advice on any motoring matter.

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