The British Legal System

Trip Start Sep 30, 2005
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Trip End Jun 04, 2006


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Flag of United Kingdom  ,
Wednesday, January 18, 2006

When you're away from a place you forget the vague eccentricities of it. It's part of the brilliant eccentricity of the British legal system that much of it traditionally relies on precedent rather than statute. Partly because of this reliance on precedent, the statute which does exist isn't necessarily rescinded or updated immediately. The fact that these antiquated rules exist doesn't stop everyone ignoring them but they lead to some wonderful, "what if" discussions. The following article on the BBC news website made is interesting, but also made me laugh. Click here for more In case you can't get to it, I've extracted some highlights below.

"I was once told a delightful story about a student at Cambridge University who took a pint of beer into his final exams. When the invigilator tried to stop him, he pulled out a 14th century University Statute which made it quite clear that each candidate was allowed a pint of ale, so they had to allow it. His result? He failed. Disqualified because he wasn't wearing a sword."

Hanging washing in the street, beating a carpet and flying a kite are set out in the Town Police Clauses Act, 1847, (chapter 89, section 28) as punishable by a 1,000 fine.
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