Problem

Legal absurdities

Other Names:
Stupid regulations
Bureaucratic stupidities
Ridiculous legal errors
Absurd government directives
Questionable legislation
Incidence:
In 1991, a Spanish bricklayer was evicted from his home, which was then auctioned under court order to pay for arrears in social-security payments for 1977. The error is that he was one of 13 people in his province with the same name, and was not the man who has the debt. The court order was issued by a labour-relations tribunal set up under General Franco. It had since been abolished and nobody has been made legally responsible for their mistakes. The judges said there was really nothing they could do.

The UK media widely publicized apparent absurdities in directives received from the intergovernmental bureaucracy of the EEC/EU: carrots defined as fruit, the need to straighten cucumbers, and the like. In 1994 concern was expressed about an EEC/EU directive that prohibited stale bread from bakeries being fed to swans in the UK on the basis that it was effectively food waste requiring tight control and only disposable by an authorized person.

Problem Type:
E: Emanations of other problems
Date of last update
18.02.1997 – 00:00 CET
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