A law stating that in Liverpool only a
clerk in a tropical-fish store is allowed to be publicly topless
was also totally ridiculous, according to the 3,931 people
polled, who were given a list of ridiculous laws and asked to
vote on them.
The laws and regulations were culled
from published research into ancient legislation that has never
been repealed, although subsequent statutes have made them
For instance, in the 17th century, the
Puritan leader Oliver Cromwell ruled that mince pies, Christmas
puddings and anything promoting gluttony should be banned at
Christmas. The law has never been repealed, and nearly half of
those surveyed happily admitted to breaking it.
Among international laws, the one voted
most ridiculous was the legislation in Ohio making it illegal to
get a fish drunk. Other foreign laws deemed irredeemably dumb
included French legislation forbidding anyone from naming a pig
Napoleon, a Florida law stipulating that unmarried women who
parachute on Sundays could be jailed, and a Vermont ruling that
women must obtain written permission from their husbands to wear
But before Canadians feel too smug, it
should be noted that the Criminal Code still bans people from
fighting duels or possessing stink bombs.
With a report from AFP
Dumbest of the
dumb: the Top 10
The Top 10 most ridiculous British laws,
according to the survey:
1. It is illegal to die in the Houses of
2. It is an act of treason to place a
postage stamp bearing the British monarch upside-down.
3. In Liverpool, it is illegal for a
woman to be topless, unless she is a clerk in a tropical-fish
4. Mince pies cannot be eaten on
5. In Scotland, if someone knocks on
your door and requires the use of your toilet, you must let them
6. A pregnant woman can legally relieve
herself anywhere she wants, including in a policeman's helmet.
7. The head of any dead whale found on
the British coast automatically becomes the property of the
King, and the tail belongs to the Queen.
8. It is illegal to avoid telling the
tax man anything you do not want him to know, but legal not to
tell him information you do not mind him knowing.
9. It is illegal to enter the Houses of
Parliament in a suit of armour.
10. In the city of York, it is legal to
murder a Scotsman within the ancient city walls, but only if he
is carrying a bow and arrow.