Exclusively British: 20 Things Legal in the UK but Banned Elsewhere

While some practices and items are restricted within the UK, there are also many that are legal in Britain but prohibited in other countries. This list explores a variety of items, substances, and activities that are permitted in the UK but face bans or severe restrictions elsewhere, highlighting the diverse legal landscapes across the globe.

1. Drinking Alcohol in Public

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In the UK, drinking alcohol in public places is generally allowed, except in areas where specific by-laws prohibit it. In contrast, many US cities and countries like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait completely ban public drinking.

2. Selling and Owning Red Diesel (For Certain Uses)

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Red diesel, which is diesel fuel taxed at a lower rate for use in agricultural vehicles, heating, and other non-road applications, is legal in the UK. However, countries like Canada and the US restrict its use to prevent tax evasion.

3. E-Cigarettes and Vaping Products

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The UK has relatively relaxed regulations on e-cigarettes, promoting them as alternatives to smoking traditional cigarettes. Meanwhile, countries like Thailand, Brazil, and Singapore have banned them outright.

4. Selling Absinthe

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Absinthe is legally sold in the UK, with its psychoactive reputation being more myth than reality. However, it’s banned in several countries where it’s believed to be harmful.

5. TV License Requirement

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The UK requires households watching live TV broadcasts to pay for a TV license, a unique system not employed in most other countries.

6. Haggis

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Traditional Scottish haggis is legal in the UK but has been banned in the US since 1971 because it contains sheep’s lung, an ingredient not allowed in food products in America.

7. Marmite

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This distinctly British yeast extract spread is legal in the UK but faces restrictions in Denmark and has faced temporary bans due to added vitamins not conforming to certain health food legislations.

8. Raw Milk Sales

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In the UK, raw milk can be sold directly to the consumer under strict regulations. This practice is illegal in about half of the US states due to health risk concerns.

9. Fox Hunting With Dogs

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While heavily restricted and essentially banned from involving a fox being killed by dogs, certain forms of “drag” fox hunting remain legal in the UK. This practice is banned in several other countries where hunting for sport is illegal.

10. Using Hoverboards on Sidewalks

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The UK allows the use of hoverboards on private property with the landowner’s permission but not on public sidewalks, unlike some US states where their use is more freely allowed.

11. Jaywalking

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There is no law against jaywalking in the UK; pedestrians can cross roads at any point. In contrast, many countries, including the US and Germany, have laws that penalize jaywalking.

12. Selling Poppers (Alkyl Nitrites)

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While regulated, the sale of poppers is legal in the UK. Conversely, countries like Canada and Australia classify them as controlled substances, making their sale illegal.

13. Hate Speech Laws

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In the UK, laws against hate speech are stringent, covering a range of protections against speech that may incite racial, religious, or other forms of hatred. In contrast, the United States protects nearly all forms of speech under the First Amendment, including those that might be considered hate speech in the UK, unless they directly incite imminent violence.

14. Age of Consent

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The age of consent in the UK is 16, aligning with many European countries but lower than many countries where the age is 18.

15. Drinking Age

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Legally, people in the UK can consume alcohol at home from the age of 5 with parental consent and can purchase alcohol from the age of 18. This is in contrast to the United States, where the legal drinking age is 21.

16. Front-Facing Baby Car Seats

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In the UK, children can legally switch from a rear-facing to a front-facing car seat at 9 months old. In contrast, countries like Sweden recommend (and the trend is growing in popularity globally) keeping children in rear-facing car seats until at least 4 years old due to safety reasons.

17. Public Smoking

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The UK has bans on smoking in all enclosed public places and workplaces. However, some countries, including Austria and Japan, allow smoking in designated indoor areas, including restaurants, bars, and offices.

18. Cloning Laws

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The UK allows strictly regulated therapeutic cloning for research. Many countries, including most across Europe, have banned all forms of cloning outright.

19. Surrogacy

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Altruistic surrogacy is legal in the UK, but commercial surrogacy is banned. Conversely, in some U.S. states and countries like Ukraine and Russia, both altruistic and commercial surrogacy are legal.

20. Smacking Children

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Corporal punishment like smacking is still legally allowed in the home under certain circumstances in the UK, although it is completely banned in schools. Meanwhile, countries like Sweden and Norway have banned all forms of corporal punishment, including in the home.

Diverse Differences

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These points illustrate significant legal and cultural differences between the UK and other parts of the world, reflecting a diverse approach to laws and social norms.

The post Exclusively British: 20 Things Legal in the UK but Banned Elsewhere first appeared on LoveLists.

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For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.

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