To celebrate National Law Week we thought it might be interesting to take a look at some of the more interesting, absurd and very real laws in existence around the world. While many of the so-called ‘crazy’ laws that are commonly published in books and on internet sites are actually fictional products of myths and urban legends, there are many fascinating examples of real cases and laws that are worth hunting out. As Nathan Belofsky, author of ‘The Book of Strange and Curious Legal Oddities’ skilfully argues, these laws offer unique insights into human history, behaviour and culture. Strange laws also offer an interesting perspective on the legal proceedings that gave rise to them.
- In 2013, Russia passed a bill backed by Vladimir Putin which made it illegal to tell kids that gay people exist, with penalties including fines and jail time.
- In Thailand it is illegal to step on money, as the currency carries the image of the king.
- In Britain it is illegal to handle a salmon in suspicious circumstances.
- In Britain, it is illegal to import potatoes into England or Wales if you have reasonable cause to believe that they are Polish.
- The only two states where divorce is illegal are the Philippines and The Vatican.
- In parts of India, a man who is in debt can offer up his wife until the debt is paid.
- In France, in certain circumstances it is legal to marry a dead person.
- In Britain, it is illegal to carry a plank along the pavement.
- In Britain it is illegal to operate a cow while intoxicated.
- In Britain it is also against the law to die in the Houses of Parliament.
- In Victoria, Australia, it is illegal to change a light bulb unless you’re a licensed electrician.
- In New Jersey, USA, it is illegal to wear a bullet-proof vest while committing a murder.
- In Massachusetts, USA, Candy may not contain greater than 1% alcohol.
And the best for last:
- In July 2013 a law was passed in China that states it is illegal for adult children to not visit their parents “often”.
- In Samoa it is illegal to forget your wife’s birthday.
- In China, it is a law that a person must be intelligent to go to college.
- In Hong Kong, there’s a law that allows a wife to kill her husband if she finds him cheating. However, she must kill him with her bare hands.