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The most common legal questions searched online
These days, for many questions, there’s a high chance you’ll turn to the internet for an answer. Of course, whether the answer is correct is another matter.
As lawyers striving for online visibility, we continually seek to understand the types of questions people ask search engines. But perusing the list of the most common legal queries typed into Google and others is quite eye-opening. As a seasonal treat, here are just a few that are safe to share!
Are Pit Bulls illegal in the UK?
Incredibly, this is the most common legal question searched online in the UK.
The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 banned the breeding, ownership or sale (including exchange or ownership) of four breeds: Pit Bull Terriers, the Fila Brasileiro, Japanese Tosas and the Dogo Argentino. Contravening the Act can lead to an unlimited fine and/or up to six months imprisonment.
But whether a dog is a banned breed depends entirely on its physical appearance. So if, for example, a dog matches the physical characteristics of a Pit Bull Terrier, it may be a banned type whether or not it’s actually of that breed.
However, an owner can obtain a certificate of exemption from a court if they can prove their dog is not dangerous to the public despite being a banned breed. But even with an exemption, they must take out special insurance, keep it securely, ensure it’s muzzled and on a lead at all times in public, and have it microchipped and neutered.
Is it legal to drive wearing flip-flops?
Although strictly not illegal, driving while wearing flip-flops is certainly not advisable. Indeed, many accidents – including fatalities – are caused by drivers wearing flip-flops and other insecure footwear.
Rule 97 of the Highway Code states that your clothing and footwear must not “prevent you using the controls in the correct manner“.
Is it legal to smoke in your car?
Generally, it’s not illegal to smoke in your car if it does not distract you from driving. However, there are significant exceptions to this.
Since 1 October 2015, it’s been illegal to smoke in any vehicle if another occupant is under 18 – although vaping is allowed (but see below). If the smoker is not the driver, both risk a fine. Also, smoking in a vehicle is not permitted if the vehicle is considered a workplace, eg a taxi.
Is it legal to vape inside?
The smoking ban of 2007 does not apply to vaping. Instead, individuals, businesses and organisations must decide whether to implement policies around vaping in locations they control. And in practice, many choose to apply smoking rules equally to vaping. That means leaving the building or other place or vaping only in a designated space, along with those smoking cigarettes.
Is it legal to marry your cousin?
Marriage between first cousins is contentious but perfectly legal in the UK.
Is it legal to record a phone call?
Recording a phone call is legal if it’s for personal use. But – and it’s a big BUT – you must record the call securely and safely by complying with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Further, it’s important to note that the law applying to recording calls varies between individuals and businesses.
Is it legal to swear in public?
Although swearing in public is not strictly illegal, swearing persistently or accompanied by other antisocial behaviour may constitute a public order offence.
Is it legal to not register to vote?
As a result of the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013, it’s an offence punishable with a fine if you do not register to vote when asked to do so. However, this requirement only extends to voter registration; you are not committing an offence by not voting.