World’s Silliest Laws and Weirdest Cases

The British Broadcasting Corporation has a report about a survey to choose the most bizarre and ridiculous laws still on the books in the UK.

Some 4,000 people took part in the poll by the British television channel UKTV Gold.

Among the silliest laws, according to the vox populi (or is that vox dei?):

  • It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament
  • It could be regarded an act of treason to place a postage stamp bearing the British king or queen’s image upside-down
  • In the UK, a pregnant woman can legally relieve herself anywhere she wants
  • It is illegal to enter the Houses of Parliament wearing a suit of armour

The Globe and Mail (Britain’s stupidest statutes, Nov. 7, 2007) and The Telegraph (Don’t die in parliament, says stupidest law, Nov. 6, 2007) have the complete list of the most bizarre statutes in the UK and internationally.

And to ensure that the fun never, ever ends, The Times has launched a regular new feature entitled Weird Cases by columnist Gary Slapper.

To kick things off, Slapper has selected “20 of his favourite bizarre disputes, prosecutions and lawsuits from the archive”. His top choice for weirdest case: the one about a Wisconsin man who sued his TV company for making his wife fat and transforming his children into ‘lazy channel surfers’.

Cross-posted to Library Boy.


  1. Well my colleague Bob Tarantino – yes blogosphere that Bob Tarantino – has just published a book on the Canadian statute oddities. You can find a preview in his Post piece on the Criminal Code and you can buy his book Under Arrest: Canadian Laws You Won’t Believe for Christmas at Amazon