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Strange British Laws

Legal English UK's team looks at some of the weirdest laws in the UK.


Restrictive covenants place limitations on a person's ability to take specific actions. They are used in employment law to prevent senior staff from moving immediately to the competition and are frequently used in property law.


They were used in Yorkshire to prevent homeowners drying their washing outside. Developers placed the covenant in order to maintain the beauty of the location.


If you are being shown around London and manage to visit one of our beautiful royal parks, you will inevitably be told that the Queen owns every swan in the kingdom. Upon this point, you can immediately tell them that the Queen does in fact own any unclaimed mute swan in open water in the UK, although she shares this responsibility with two public bodies.

This all dates back to the 1400s and it means that every year, staff from the public bodies (and on one occasion in 2009 the Queen herself) travel along the River Thames to register any unmarked swans.


Another legal myth is that any Welshman found in the city of Chester in northern England can be legally shot with a bow and arrow after midnight.


While the law itself has not been repealed, it has been superseded by other laws that make killing illegal - however and wherever it is done!

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