Skip to main content

Hide this page

Local Advice Finder

Find local services

Weird UK laws quiz

What do you do with a washed-up whale, and who's got the power to turn back an alien invasion of the UK? Take this quiz to find out and scroll down for the answers.

Girl looking confused holding a question mark

Whale tails, archbishops and Chelsea pensioners - The UK is full of weird laws

viewed 795
0
  

Questions:

1. Magistrates are legally able to use ‘reasonable force’ to turn back an alien invasion of the UK as long as the aliens:

a.Don’t have a licence to invade
b. Haven’t received a royal summons
c. Are radioactive
d. Refuse to comply with the Highway Code

2.As Prime Minister, which of the following would not be able to advise on the appointment of the Archbishop of Canterbury?

a. Jeremy Paxman
b. Daniel Radcliffe
c. Robbie Williams
d.Victoria Beckham

3. If a whale is caught in British coastal waters, who can claim ownership of the tail?

a.The person who found it
b. The king
c. The Prime Minister
d. The queen

4. In 1888, local authorities in Middlesex passed a ruling that cyclists should dismount under what circumstances?

a. When faced with an angry beggar
b. When deer have strayed onto the road
c. When a horse-drawn carriage is approaching
d. When it’s raining after dark

5. Why is it illegal to impersonate a Chelsea Pensioner?

a. To prevent conmen from stealing their pensions
b. To prevent conmen from stealing their enormous breastpocket medal displays
c. To keep the Chelsea Pensioner real
d. Because such elderly former footballers deserve our respect

6. In 1697, a UK court of law gave a decision on the matter of disciplining servants. In this ruling, what was a master permitted to use in order to provide correction?

a. A horsewhip
b. A cudgel
c. A slipper
d. A belt strap

7. In the UK, scolding was outlawed in 1585. What did this mean women could no longer do?

a. Tell children off and clip them round the ear
b. Cause a nuisance with abusive or argumentative language
c. Cause a nuisance with boiling water
d. Follow men around demanding money

8. Since 1313, MPs have been forbidden from wearing what item of clothing to Parliament?

a. A gimpsuit
b. A bear suit
c. A suit of armour
d. A pinstripe suit

9. Up until the Marriage (Scotland) Act became law in 1939, a man could be legally bound to marry a woman if what occurred?

a. He asked her to marry him
b. He had sex with her
c. He’d seen her naked
d. He spanked her on the bottom with a riding crop

10. The Bastardy Act of 1575 compelled all women with an illegitimate child to do what?

a. Lop off their ring finger, so everyone would know she’d had a child out of wedlock
b. Name the father so he could be beaten with sticks
c. Name the father so he could be beaten with rolling pins
d. Name the father so he could be forced to marry or face prison

Answers:

Find out how many you got right, and what these weird UK laws really are.

1. Magistrates are legally able to use ‘reasonable force’ to turn back an alien invasion of the UK as long as the aliens:

Answer: a. Don’t have a licence to invade

This piece of legislation comes under Section 9 of The Outer Space Act 1986The act also prohibits ordinary citizens from launching a ‘space object’ and carrying out activities on the moon or other celestial bodies.

2. As Prime Minister, which of the following would not be able to advise on the appointment of the Archbishop of Canterbury?

Answer: b. Daniel Radcliffe

Under the Jews Relief Act 1858if Daniel (AKA Harry Potter) were to become PM he wouldn’t be able to advise on the appointment of any ecclesiastical posts in the Churches of England, Ireland or Scotland because he is Jewish. Incidentally, this act was passed when Benjamin Disraeli, Britain’s first Jewish PM, was Chancellor of the Exchequer. Catholics face similar restrictions, but no such laws apply to people of other religions.

3. If a whale is caught in British coastal waters, who can claim ownership of the tail?

Answer: d. The queen

Dating back to the 14th-century, the statute known as Prerogativa Regis asserts that if a whale or sturgeon is caught in seas ‘adjoining the coast’, the head belongs to the king while the queen bags the whalebone at the tail end – so she could use the bones for her corset. Today in practice all strandings should be reported to the Natural History Museum.

4. In 1888, local authorities in Middlesex passed a ruling that cyclists should dismount under what circumstances?

Answer: c. When a horse-drawn carriage is approaching

This law came into force just a few years after bicycles took off in a big way. The resulting run-ins between pedal-crazed Victorians and carriages meant something had to be done.

5. Why is it illegal to impersonate a Chelsea Pensioner?

Answer: a. To prevent conmen from stealing their pensions

The Chelsea Pensioner has been a national treasure since the reign of King James II. As in-pensioners at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, these former soldiers are easily identifiable by their red military uniforms. Back when the Chelsea and Kilmainham Hospitals Act of 1826 was passed, their outfits made them easy prey for pension thieves.

6. In 1697, a UK court of law gave a decision on the matter of disciplining servants. In this ruling, what was a master permitted to use in order to provide correction?

Answer: b. A cudgel

Today, of course, punishing anyone by whacking them with a stick is likely to constitute assault.

7. In the UK, scolding was outlawed in 1585. What did this mean women could no longer do?

Answer: b. Cause a nuisance with abusive or argumentative language

Women found guilty of severe scolding would be forced to wear a scold’s bridle – a metal cage that enclosed the entire head. The good news for loud-mouthed ladies is that no prosecutions were brought for a long period of time before the offence was finally abolished by the Criminal Law Act 1967.

8. Since 1313, MPs have been forbidden from wearing what item of clothing to Parliament?

Answer: c. A suit of armour

The law was intended to ensure that debates could be carried out without participants clanking noisily. The general din that accompanies parliamentary sessions may be the number one nuisance now, but you can always make your voice heard by contacting your MP.

9. Up until the Marriage (Scotland) Act became law in 1939, a man could be legally bound to marry a woman if what occurred?

Answer: b. He had sex with her

Nowadays, sexual intercourse between two people doesn’t make them man and wife. Whatever it means, however, make sure it’s safe by using condoms to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancy.

10. The Bastardy Act of 1575 compelled all women with an illegitimate child to do what?

Answer: d. Name the father so he could be forced to marry or face prison

Thankfully, this act is now repealed and having children out of wedlock no longer carries the same stigma of old. Rather than facing prison or an enforced marriage, birth fathers have rights and responsibilities.

Picture of girl with question mark by Shutterstock.

Next Steps

  • The Citizens Advice Bureau has a great Advice4Me page, which explains legal rights specifically for under-25s.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

Tags:

fun| law| quiz| weird laws

By

Updated on 07-Aug-2014

back to top

Show site map

Loading...