Legal problems in holiday hot-spots
Did you know that it’s illegal to die in the UK’s Houses of Parliament?
Or that California Law prohibits a woman from driving a car while dressed in a housecoat?
Whilst these unusual pieces of legislation might rarely be enforced, you might be surprised by what can land you in hot water elsewhere in the world.
Millions of us travel abroad each year, but when preparing to head overseas most of us think about sunshine, sandy beaches and sangria. It’s rare that we think to take the time to see how our expectations fit in with local laws and customs.
Subsequently, each summer we read of unwitting legal breaches by British tourists and the sometimes harsh punishments they face because of them.
You might be surprised to learn that:
• in Dubai in 2010 a British couple were sentenced to a month in prison for kissing and subsequently fined £200 for drinking alcohol
• under French law it’s illegal to wear a full veil, balaclava or any other garment that conceals the face
• in Russia, it’s illegal to photograph sites of strategic military importance including airports
If you should find yourself in trouble, it’s helpful to know what support is available. Some useful starting points include:
• contacting your nearest British embassy
• help finding English speaking lawyers
• help finding interpreters and translators
It can also be helpful to know how to find a lawyer working in England and Wales but who knows about another country’s laws. There’s more advice about this in our FAQs section.
Don’t forget as well that you can find out about another country’s laws and customs from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office – just take a look at their travel advice pages.