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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 March 2008, 12:13 GMT
Think you know the law?

Bygone laws quiz

Parliament has begun moves to repeal all or part of 328 Acts which experts say are completely redundant. Test your knowledge of a slice of British legal history...

Houses of Parliament, 1840

1.) Bygone laws quiz

East India Company and the Nabobs of the Carnatic Act 1806. What was it?

A soldier during the British Raj
  1. A trading agreement
  2. A mechanism to tackle commodity price fluctuations
  3. A means to control Indian leaders

2.) Bygone laws quiz

What could lead to a three-month jail sentence, thanks to a 1906 Act?

Wormwood Scrubs
  1. Impersonating a sailor or soldier
  2. Being rude to a magistrate in the street
  3. Cycling to a Birmingham chapel on market days

3.) Bygone laws quiz

What is the oldest Act being repealed under the plans?

Richard II in 1381
  1. Inquests of Escheators Act 1429
  2. Powdyke in Marshland Act 1530
  3. London to Harwich Roads Act 1695

4.) Bygone laws quiz

What according to the 1751 Act is a "disorderly house"?

18th Century football
  1. A theatre
  2. A brothel
  3. The House of Commons

5.) Bygone laws quiz

raising a sum of money for the purpose of erecting a *

  1. workhouse
  2. museum
  3. station

6.) Bygone laws quiz

Which of these is not an Act of Parliament?

Queen Elizabeth's court
  1. Lands of Idiots Act 1324
  2. Clapboard Act 1592
  3. Making of Hats Act 1551
  4. They're all Acts of Parliament

7.) Bygone laws quiz

How long did it take the Unlawful Drilling Act of 1819 to become obsolete?

Peterloo Massacre
  1. Three years
  2. Three months
  3. Three weeks

8.) Bygone laws quiz

How many Acts of Parliament have been passed since 1801, based on estimates calculated by House of Commons researchers?

The House of Commons' Speaker
  1. 3,679
  2. 9,548
  3. 17,453

9.) Bygone laws quiz

Of all those Acts passed since 1801, how many have been passed by Labour since it came to power in 1997?

Tony Blair and family outside Downing Street
  1. 460
  2. 103
  3. 87

10.) Bygone laws quiz

It shall be lawful to require any street * to depart

  1. musician
  2. prostitute
  3. urchin


  1. A means to control Indian leaders. The East India Company was Britain's proxy ruler of India until 1858. This act was one of many exerting political pressure on local rulers who had run up debts with the company, tightening control over the sub-continent.
  2. It's impersonating a sailor. The Seamen's and Soldiers' False Characters Act 1906 was designed to stop the workshy from presenting themselves to employers as upstanding men who had been serving the Empire overseas.
  3. It's the London to Harwich Roads Act. The other two are genuine Acts of Parliament.
  4. It's the theatre. Parliament feared the public entertainment explosion of the era was leading people to fritter away their income - causing them to beg and steal. The Act regulated theatres.
  5. It's workhouse. This 1819 Act created the institution at Wapping, East London, that Dickens wrote about in The Uncommercial Traveller, his collection of sketches.
  6. They're all Acts of Parliament. Honestly. The 1324 Act relates to forfeiting the land of people deemed to be insane.
  7. It's three weeks. The Act passed in December 1819 was a response to the Peterloo massacre, a protest for democracy (pictured). The first and only relevant trial in the New Year came under different legislation. Experts have found no prosecution for "unlawful drilling".
  8. The answers is 3,679 - but that is only a best guess. Nobody is quite sure.
  9. The answer is 460 - or 12% of all legislation since the 1801 Act of Union.
  10. It's musician. The Act was designed to clamp down on a sudden explosion in street organs and brass bands annoying the gentry of London by playing outside their homes.

Judgement day

0 - 3 : Judge Dredd

4 - 7 : Law unto yourself

8 - 10 : Legal eagle

For a complete archive of past quizzes and our weekly news quiz, 7 days 7 questions, visit the Magazine page and scroll down.

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