The Top 8 "Is It Legal To..." Search Terms Used In The UK May Shock You

by Aoife Hanna
Originally Published: 
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The internet is just the best, isn't it? Ordering clothes, watching TV, researching topics. You name it, the internet's got you covered. But it turns out that a lot of people are also using the internet in order to keep themselves on the right side of the law, and data for the UK's most searched "is it legal to..." results say a lot about what concerns the average Brit has.

Guys it looks like potentially you and/or the people around you have some kind of strange worries. Ones that might make you scratch your head a little when you hear them. Or (more likely) I might be about to assuage your long-held concerns.

In a press release sent through to Bustle, digital intelligence company SEMrush revealed the results of a study they had done into the top "is it legal to..." searches in the UK. Needless to say, their findings are just as hilarious as you might expect. Luckily for a lot of concerned citizens, many of the concerns aren't in fact illegal but, guys — they say a serious amount about the people living in the UK today.

Below I have listed the top eight questions, from least to most searched, and have provided answers to quell your fears. Call me your criminal agony aunt.


8. Is it legal to watch porn?

Well, guys, let's be real, whether it is or isn't, we're all doing it. In the UK, it's legal for over 18 year olds to watch porn, provided the porn in question adheres to a certain set of guidelines. And, on the whole, all you have to do to access it is click a button that says you are 18. However, the British government have recently decided to change this and, as Wired reports, soon Brits will have to give video and/or photo evidence of your age in order to enter these kind of sites. I know right? That's just what you ned to get in the mood — grabbing your passport.

7. Is it legal to sleep in your car?

Yes guys, you can sleep in your car. As a matter of fact, according to the highway code, it's recommended to avoid falling asleep at the wheel. Just make sure you're not pulling over on the hard shoulder. In addition, as suggests, be wary where you park as you might end up getting a fine if you are there too long.

6. Is it legal to drink in public in the UK?

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OK, now this one is fair enough. Especially as in many places, like certain states in the U.S., drinking in public areas is not allowed. In answer to this question, yes and no.

According to Drink Aware, people over the age of 18 can drink in public. The exception to this rule is in areas of towns where Public Space Protection Orders are in place. As well as this, public transport is a tricky one as it varies from provider to provider. So best check ahead and avoid a fine.

5. Is it legal to park on the pavement?

OK, so I looked to the RAC for advice on this and, guys, parking on the pavement is absolutely illegal in London. And, although it isn't necessarily illegal outside of London, it's a slightly grey area, so do your research ahead of time.

4. Is it legal to stop a child seeing its father?

Ugh, this one is sad for all involved. According to the Child Law Advice website, contact is a child's right. However, if the authorities involved believe the child's safety is at risk, it's possible they may not be allowed contact with the parent in question. This, however, all needs to be settled upon in a court before anyone has the absolute right to take away a child's right to see their parents.

3. Is it legal to drive barefoot?

OK, real talk: this is actually one I have wondered about in the past.

The RAC reports that, according to the Driving Standards Agency, "[s]uitable shoes are particularly important behind the wheel. We would not recommend driving barefoot because you don't have the same braking force with bare feet as you do with shoes on."

OK, so it's not actually illegal, but the RAC reports it would be if your feet were wet. Oh, for god sake everyone, just stop being gross and wear shoes.

2. Is it legal to record someone?

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According to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (via the BBC), it's not strictly illegal to record someone. However, that's only if the recording is for personal use. If you were to share the recording with a third party, without the recordee's consent, then you would find yourself in need of a good solicitor.

1. Is it legal to marry your cousin?

Jesus hell. Really?!

For the record — it looks like people interested in marrying their cousins are actually in the clear. Yep, the Metro reports that you can marry your cousin. As the newspaper points out, "Prince Philip and The Queen are even third cousins."

Yikes, talk about keeping it in the family.

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