University of Law and students in row over legality of obscene songs

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By Judge John Hack on

Law school claims Town Police Clauses Act 1847 still applies — students not so sure


An entertaining debate has broken out on the Book of Face over whether it is still technically illegal to stand in a British street belting out songs or ballads that include robust Anglo-Saxon lyrics.

The University of Law got things going with this post on its Facebook page.


ULaw reckons you can still end up before the Beak for crooning obscene songs such as John Lennon’s “Working Class Hero” (which includes the famous line, “But you’re still fucking peasants, as far as I can see …”), or, for the younger generation, CeeLo Green’s “Fuck You” (which — and here’s a turn up for the books — includes the lyric: “I see you driving ‘round town with the girl I love and I’m like, “Fuck you!”).

But, responding in the comments to ULaw’s post, students and graduates reckon the law school has dropped a clanger and got the law wrong.


At the core of the tussle is the Town Police Clauses Act 1847 — although ULaw’s social media team seem a bit confused, suggesting in their initial post that the legislation might have been dated eight years earlier.

ULaw graduate James Ketteringham suggests that thanks to the Deregulation Act of this year — which the coalition government brought forward to consign a load of obsolete law to the legislative dustbin — Her Majesty’s subjects are now free to shout as much CeeLo Green as they like.

Indeed, Legal Cheek’s own crack in-house legal research team has assessed the issue. And while there are shades of grey, it appears to our specialists that the ULaw students are right.


So while the university’s social media team might get the law wrong, at least the institution’s students have ended up graduating with the ability to get it right.

UPDATE 13:48 — The University of Law seems to be right. James Ketteringham posts on the Legal Cheek Facebook wall: