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Revealed: The UK’s most Googled legal questions

THE UK’s most Googled legal question is whether Pitbulls are illegal, new research has revealed

The study, commissioned by legal education experts BARBRI, analysed Google search data for queries containing the word “illegal”, to reveal the most common legal questions that Brits want the answer to.

Topping the list is “Are pitbulls illegal in the UK?” which receives an average of 5,400 searches each month.

The Dangerous Dog Act 1991 prevents the breeding, sale, exchange, or ownership of new pitbull terriers. Existing pitbull dog owners are allowed to keep their dogs but cannot allow them in a public place without a muzzle and a lead, and breach of the Act could result in an unlimited fine or up to six months in prison.

Following in second place is “Is it illegal to drive barefoot in the UK?” which is searched an estimated 3,900 times per month.

The DVLA recommends wearing sensible footwear while driving, noting that shoes enable much greater force to be applied when braking. However, it does not state that driving barefoot is against the law.

The third most Googled legal question in the UK asks “Is it illegal to park on the pavement?”. The query receives 2,300 searches each month, and those Googling will discover that the answer depends on where they are. 

Parking on the pavement is currently only illegal in London. However, The Department for Transport is considering extending that ban to the whole of England. In the rest of the UK, Scotland is set to introduce a ban on pavement parking in 2023. 

In Wales, local authorities are set to be given additional civil enforcement powers to fine problem parkers from summer 2022, and in Northern Ireland there is no general ban on pavement parking. However, it “is not permitted at any time along the length of urban clearways”. 

The UK’s fourth most Googled legal question asks “Is it illegal to play loud music after 11pm in the UK?”, which is searched an average of 2,200 times every month. Receiving an average of 2,100 searches each month, “Is it illegal to drive in flip flops?” is the UK’s fifth most Googled question. As with bare feet, there is no law explicitly banning driving with a particular type of shoe but wearing a “sensible” pair is recommended. 

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In sixth place, Brits searched “What is illegal to watch on the internet UK?” around 1,800 times per month, with categories such as bestiality, abuse and assault all prohibited.

The seventh most searched legal question , with 1,600 searches on average each month, asks “Is pepper spray illegal in the UK?”, to which the answer is very simple: yes.

“Is it illegal to quit a job without notice UK?” ranks as the eighth most Googled legal question, thanks to 1,500 monthly searches, with the gov.uk website warning that anyone who doesn’t give enough notice could be in breach of their contract, and their employer could take them to court.

Commenting on the research, a spokesperson for BARBRI said: “It’s fascinating to see the data on the UK’s most common legal questions. It shows that people are mainly concerned with grey areas, and presumptions about laws that might have arisen from rumours or misinterpretation. Usually, a search will be able to answer the question, however in some cases the answer will be that ‘it depends’, which is why it’s always best to err on the side of caution.”

The research was conducted on behalf of BARBRI, which has more than 50 years of experience on bar preparation and legal exams, making it the global leader in legal education.