Brits caught out by foreign laws

Each year, hundreds of Brits are caught out abroad by laws that seem very unusual. Playing bingo, feeding pigeons and snacking may seem like ordinary everyday activities in the UK, but in some countries these are seen as an infringement of the law.

The world is a varied and diverse place and part of that diversity comes in the form of different ideas of what is legal and what is not. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has reported that many Brits are caught out by laws they didn’t imagine existed. However, ignorance of the law is no excuse and sometimes they can face serious consequences.

A huge 27% of all cases requiring attention by the FCO abroad involved people who have been arrested. In recent years, Italy, the UAE and the Netherlands have seen a rise in arrests abroad.

In many cases, it is alcohol and other drug issues that see the law being broken, with many Brits not realising that some countries are dry or have different laws when it comes to drinking. The FCO recommends that Brits check out the laws of their destination country if they are unsure, to avoid any potential problems.

Charles Hay, director of consular services said: ‘Every year British nationals find themselves on the wrong side of the law unexpectedly, resulting in fines or in some cases arrests or even jail sentences.

It is important to remember that laws and customs can vary greatly from country to country and what may be perfectly legal in the UK could be subject to a fine or even a jail sentence in another.’

While our holidays are very important and should be times of relaxation and fun, sometimes things can go wrong. If it’s not arrest then it might be injury or illness, which is why travel insurance is a must-have if you’re going away.


Date Created: 29 August 2013

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