UK Legal Urban Legends

Another list of urban legends from the BBC. This time it's legal urban legends. All the following laws, though frequently repeated, are NOT TRUE:
  • It's illegal to die in Parliament.
  • It's illegal to put a stamp on upside down.
  • It's illegal to eat a mince pie on Christmas Day.
  • It's legal to kill Welsh people in the town of Chester.
  • It's legal for a man to urinate in public, as long as it's on the rear wheel of his car and his right hand is on the vehicle. And pregnant women can legally relieve themselves in any public place, including into a policeman's helmet.
  • London taxis have to carry a bale of hay in their boot.
  • If someone knocks on your door in Scotland and needs to use the toilet, you have to let them enter.

Law/Police/Crime Urban Legends

Posted on Mon Apr 09, 2012


I heard a more detailed version of the killing Welsh people in Chester when I was a student in the city in 1998-2001. According to this version the killing of a Welsh person was only legal after dark and if the victim was shot with a crossbow from the city walls; this has the advantage of making it rather difficult to take advantage of the 'silly law' and therefore added to its credibility. I recently heard the same legend told about the town of Shrewsbury.
Posted by Gervase N. Charmley  in  Stoke on Trent  on  Mon Apr 09, 2012  at  09:20 AM
I'd heard about the dying in Parliment one before.

Of course, the main thing is there are already so many atrociously silly laws ont he books. Many of them are holdouts from Victorian times, special cases, or something someone thought was a good idea at the time.

The last one is especially common: a law gets passed to prohibit a certain activity, but it's so broadly-written that it winds up banning a lot more.
Posted by Robin Bobcat  in  Californian Wierdo  on  Mon Apr 09, 2012  at  01:50 PM
"If someone knocks on your door in Scotland and needs to use the toilet, you have to let them enter."

Hmmm. Seems we have some 'Scottish Experts" here and there on the MoH that could verify this one for us. Ladies?
Posted by daveprime  in  Deep in the sticks...*yay internet!!*  on  Thu Apr 26, 2012  at  10:51 AM
There is absolutely no truth in the idea of being able to knock on anyones door and demand access to use their toilet.

Of course, as long as you're not too drunk or anything, most Scots would probably oblige you anyway.
Posted by The Craic  on  Sun Sep 23, 2012  at  12:44 PM
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