A law that prohibits Colombian companies from “importing” Chinese laborers to work on Colombian land is just one of the ridiculous and bizarre laws that may be targeted for removal by a government body looking at ways to steamline the country’s legal system, El Pais reported on Monday.
According to newspaper El Pais, Article 4, law 62 of the year 1887: “The importation of Chinese [laborers] for whatever work in Colombian territory is hereby prohibited, without regard for prior company policy” is one of the laws set to be removed. Thankfully this particular law is no longer enforced, and after the governmental body entrusted in targeting antiquated laws is finished, it might not even be documented anymore.
Another law, also no longer enforced but which may explain the sad state and bad taste of Colombia’s most well established beers, governs the sale of alcohol.
Article 8, law 88 of 1923: “With the exception of soft drinks and beer with an alcohol content at or below 4%, in accordance with the provisions of this act, the sale of fermented beverages is prohibited between the hours of 6PM to 6AM, and on Sundays and public holidays.”
If you’ve been wondering why, much to your chagrin, that Aguila (alcohol content 4%) you were nursing appeared to improve your spatial awareness and make people less interesting, look no further than to this law. Perhaps there were too many reported cases of intoxicated bee keepers allowing their bees to escape?
Article 6 of the Civil Code: “The bees that flee a hive and come to rest in a tree that is not owned by their previous owner, return to a state of nature and liberty, and anyone may seize them for their honeycomb, as long as they have the permission of the owner of the land upon which they rest. The original owner of the bees will not be prohibited from pursuing the fugitive bees as long as they are on land that is not fenced or cultivated.”
If some Colombian laws like those governing fugitive bees might seem obnoxious, they appear positively reasonable in comparison to some of the similary outdated laws that have been noted in the legal codes of other countries.
“If a dead whale should wash up on the shores of the British coast, the head belongs to the King, the tail belongs to the Queen, and the bones will go to the making of her corset,” an antiquated British law reads.
Another law, this time from the US state of Vermont, states that women must have their husbands’ permission to wear false teeth. Clearly, such obsolete laws are not unique to Colombia.
A government committee has recently been tasked with cleaning up Colombia’s legal code by targeting outdated laws for elimination.
The committee will not stop there, however, and also plans to create a document that will provide clear guidelines for new laws to ensure that the creation of such obnoxious decrees will be kept to a minimum in the future, according to Justice Minister Ruth Stella Correa.