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Various Victorian regulations

Comment 24th July 2010

An eclectic selection of various detailed provisions from the 19th century:

1.  Any provision of the Town Police Clauses Act 1847 which is covered by legislation of general application.

2.  Sections 9, 19 and 20 of the Metropolitan Streets Act 1867 (against adverts on vehicles and shoe-shine stands)

3.  Newspapers, Printers and Reading Rooms Repeal Act 1869 (and thus the Printer's Imprint Act 1961) (requiring publications to bear the owner's details for the purpose of pursuing alleged criminal libel)

4.  Sections 37 & 40 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861 (against assaulting a magistrate preserving a wreck and against hindering a seaman)

5.  Pedlars Act 1871 (requiring the licensing of travelling tradesmen)

6.  Newspaper, Libel and Registration Act 1881 (requiring the registration of all newspapers)

7.  Corn Returns Act 1882 (requiring that every seller of corn make a return to the Ministry)

Why does this matter?

The short selection above is of unnecessary and restrictive provisions.  Some are now inexplicable regulation.  Others, such as the offence of assault on a magistrate in a particular function, are well covered by more general law and indeed better covered by the general law.

Newspaper registration and so forth were introduced to allow prosecutors to proceed against newspapers for criminal libel, which has been abolished, and if there were any tiny benefit yet to be found in the rules, they are worthless in the face of the internet.

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