Pancake Day triggers rush to legal texts

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By Judge John Hack on

Leading law book publisher throws spotlight on “Batters on Festive Days Act 1836” and and other legal potholes around Shrove Tuesday


Today is Shrove Tuesday, and for those who have forgotten why they’ll be rushing home this evening to scoff sickly pancakes by the frying pan-load, Legal Cheek has turned to its religious affairs correspondent for a short summary.

From a position at the bar in the Dog and Collar opposite Lambeth Palace, our man reports that Shrove Tuesday precedes Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of Lent.

Lent is the period in the Christian calendar that forms the run-up to Easter, during which time adherents to the religion make certain sacrifices, atone and generally repent. For law students, this means spending slightly less time in the pub and ‘phoning their parents to thank them for footing ludicrously high tuition fees.

But for crusty old legal profession publishers, Shrove Tuesday is a golden opportunity to demonstrate that they have a sense of humour and are not simply … well … crusty old legal publishers.

Enter LexisNexis Butterworths, purveyors of that old favourite “Halsbury’s Laws of England”. It has today tweeted its own version “Pancake Day regulations”, which include references to intriguing pieces of legislation, such as the Batters on Festive Days Act 1836 and the Stocks on the Common Act 1782.


However, the publishers leave a yawning gap in relation to international regulations. For example, any woman in France who had so enjoyed the experience of coating a pancake with Nutella that she was moved to name her new-born after the hazelnut and chocolate spread could find herself in hot water.