Dear Office for National Statistics,

On the census form, it states quite clearly that I must respond BY LAW, (as opposed to stating it is a LEGAL obligation).

I have searched and cannot find any LAW (only legislation) to this effect and can only assume that the word LAW is used as a threat.

Therefore, please provide me with the relevant LAW (not Legislation/Act/Statute) that says I must comply.

Yours faithfully,


FOI Team, Office for National Statistics

Thank you for your email.

It may help if I explain that in plain terms, legislation is a form of
law. In this case the legislation is the Census Act 1920, and the Census
Order and Census Regulations made under the powers in that act and
approved by Parliament.
Section 8 of the Census Act (which is as a piece of legislation is law)
states that if any person refuses to comply with or acts in contravention
of any of the provisions of this Act or any Order in Council or
regulations made under this Act..... shall for each offence be liable on
summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.

You have the right to have this response to your freedom of information
request reviewed internally by an internal review process and, if you
remain unhappy with the decision, by the Information Commissioner. If you
would like to have the decision reviewed please write to Frank Nolan,
Office for National Statistics, Room 1127, Government Buildings, Cardiff
Road, Newport, Gwent, NP10 8XG.

If you have any queries about this email, please contact me. Please
remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

Paul Wearn LLB (Hons)
Legal Services
Office for National Statistics

[FOI #67313 email]
To: FOI Team@ONS
03/04/2011 17:33 cc:
Subject: Freedom
of Information request -
Lawfully or Legally Obliged?

Dear Office for National Statistics,

On the census form, it states quite clearly that I must respond BY
LAW, (as opposed to stating it is a LEGAL obligation).

I have searched and cannot find any LAW (only legislation) to this
effect and can only assume that the word LAW is used as a threat.

Therefore, please provide me with the relevant LAW (not
Legislation/Act/Statute) that says I must comply.

Yours faithfully,


show quoted sections

Steve Elibank left an annotation ()

What a bizarre request. Obviously Acts of Parliament are the law; how could you possibly think otherwise?

D.Gill left an annotation ()

I am assuming you are being facetious.

Otherwise you could educate yourself by looking at definitions of "LEGAL" and "LAWFUL".

Then come back and make your point.

Steve Elibank left an annotation ()

LEGAL: "established by or founded upon law or official or accepted rules"

LAWFUL: "conformable to or allowed by law"

You appear to be drawing a completely artificial (pedantic at best and incorrect at worst) distinction between law and legislation. It may interest you to discover that the word 'legislation' is defined as "law enacted by a legislative body." So I still don't get your point, though appreciate your conciliatory tone greatly.

D.Gill left an annotation ()

If lawful and legal are the same, why do we have magistrates courts and crown courts ?

Magistrates courts in general hear legal cases - e.g. TV Licence, motoring offences, etc.

Crown courts hear law cases e.g. fraud, murder, etc.,

Why isn't the census ACT called census LAW?
Dig a little deeper and I know you will be surprised at what you might find.

Steve Elibank left an annotation ()

You're talking such astonishing nonsense that I really don't have the energy to continue.

D.Gill left an annotation ()

OK (!)

Luke Peters left an annotation ()


You really ought to do a little research. You might be surprised how much you aren't supposed to know. Good luck.

Luke Peters left an annotation ()

What is so hilarious about these machinations is that they don't even know your name - who are they going to prosecute - Mr T. Occupier???

In any case, the coercion of people into divulging private information has UNLAWFUL written all over it.

NJ left an annotation ()

Ok, lets set the record straight. Lawful and Legal are 2 totally different things.

Lawful/Law is Common Law (some call it Gods Law). The primary principle being one should not cause Lose, Harm or Injury.

Acts/Statutes are created by Parliament or local authorities, they however ARE NOT law. Acts and Statues are enforced using Statutory Instruments. The Legal definition of an SI is a contract.

Although I'm not against Council Tax (it does serve a purpose, it is only illegal not to pay it. It's not unlawful. Remember the UK is a Common Law country, Law overrides Acts/Statues.

A good example is Section 44 of the Terrorism Act of 2000. The UK government were taken to European court in the case (Gillan & Quinton vs UK).

The court ruled that the Stop and Search powers provided were to wide and as a result went against Human Rights laws and a persons right to privacy. As such the UK government had to make changes to how the powers are used.

In terms of the Census, it's illegal not to fill it in and send it back, it is however not unlawful as again Human Rights provide for you to have the right to privacy.

NJ left an annotation ()

For what it's worth, I don't ever fill in the Census. I consider it a breach of my Human Rights.

As far as Acts go, it is always considered that the latest Act overrides older one. The Census Act was enacted in 1920, the Data Protection Act was enacted in 1998.

As a result, you could happily fill in your details, but filling in any information about others is a Data Protection breach. This is especially given that the Government as next to useless as keeping it safe.

Aidan Hogg left an annotation ()

D Gill, I must say you are quite an idiot. The reason we have magistrates court and high court is as follows.

Both are courts of first instances, In a magistrates court you guessed it sits a Magistrates, most cases will start here and in fact at some point or another they will deal with 97% of all criminal cases. Magistrates do not have legal qualifications and are given basic expenses only, they are advised by legal clerks. Due to the very nature of them they have restricted sentencing powers. If someone elects for a trial by jury they have to go to crown court where there can be a jury. If the magistrates feel they do not have the sentencing power or any other reason to properly handle the case it goes to crown court such as murders etc. In crown court you have a Judge who is legally qualified and it is therefore far more reasonable for them to have higher sentencing powers.

Son of Albion left an annotation ()

After 4 years and 3 and a bit months I believe I have an answer for you, grasshopper :

Lawful : Being lawful, is an action that is authorized by law. It is an action that is not forbidden by law. Being free.

Legal : Being legal is an action that complies with formal rules. To say that an action is “legal” would imply that it is done in accordance with the forms and usages of law, or in a specific manner. Being enslaved.

I believe or hope that the above makes sense and that it is correct. One person's belief is often criticised, but that does not make it wrong.

Dragon left an annotation ()

Breaking an act and statutes falls under commercial jurisdiction not common law and it’s not even a crime. It’s business not justice. First contact of business is the police, any breach of statutes usually consist of a threat of two option a) fixed penalty (which conflicts with our fundamental right to due process or it can even be considered a bribe) .b) Refusal to pay which leads to court. When you go to court you will not find a jury, no trial by your peers only a judge a prosecutor and solicitor, who all are all on the same payroll and work in the same society. The law society, they all use legalese. It was designed to either trick you out of everything you own even your freedom by unwittingly means of agreement through consent of contract. The prison isn’t a physical cell it’s the restriction it places upon society as a whole, where every action you take has a price.

To commit a crime is to break the law, it’s to cause harm injury or loss to another person, either physically or financially (mischief in contract) plain English. These are the common laws these are the law of the land. When a crime has been committed only then will you mostly likely be trialed by jury. The authority we gave was to enforce this. This is the only authority given to police, to protect our individual rights and to catch criminals who abuse them. To bring people to justice and not to enforce justice without due process.

As such the legal system is currently criminal in itself and unlawful as it stands by breaking all common laws. It causes harm injury and loss through mischief of contract with the use of legalese (legal writing). It’s a tool for the corporate world of finance and business to create money from the unknown public and it allows legal loopholes for major corporations to legally break the law by diminished responsibility by allowing the corporate entity to accept liability instead of it’s owners.

Dragon left an annotation ()

For the law to act on you legally it must contract with you. Legal is the art of business bound by contracts
.Contract: Definition. An agreement creating obligations enforceable by law. The basic elements of a contract are mutual assent, consideration, capacity, and legality. In some states, the element of consideration can be satisfied by a valid substitute. 1) n. an agreement with specific terms between two or more persons or entities in which there is a promise to do something in return for a valuable benefit known as consideration. Since the law of contracts is at the heart of most business dealings, it is one of the three or four most significant areas of legal concern and can involve variations on circumstances and complexities. The existence of a contract requires finding the following factual elements: a) an offer; b) an acceptance of that offer which results in a meeting of the minds; c) a promise to perform; d) a valuable consideration (which can be a promise or payment in some form); e) a time or event when performance must be made (meet commitments); f) terms and conditions for performance, including fulfilling promises; g) performance. A unilateral contract is one in which there is a promise to pay or give other consideration in return for actual performance

Statutes – All Acts of Parliament are ‘statutes’ known variously as legislation, regulations or rules. They are not laws...
– A ‘statute’ is defined as a rule or regulation of a society
– The distinction between a law and a statute is that a law applies equally to us all but statutes can be made to favor one sector of society over others
– There is a compulsion to obey laws. Laws defend our freedoms and liberties
– Government is elected into ‘office’ not ‘power’ as they frequently like to claim.

If the authority acts on you, keep in mind under what authority are they acting on. A legal basis or lawful, an offence or criminal offence. If you have caused no harm injury or loss to another human being then do not consent to anything, do not contract. Remain silent even at the station, they can only hold you for upto 24 hours during which time they have to charge you with a CRIME or release you. Without your full name(legal fiction) it’s impossible, as the legal system can only ACT on your name not on a human being, thus the real reason of the creation of “your” birth certificate. Your name is a corporate title and you don’t own it the government does.

Dragon left an annotation ()

If you were born free then where and when does the obligation come from to obey government policy? There is no obligation, it is presumed. Only when we consent does the corporate legal fiction have any jurisdiction, as it is we who granted it. The people are the source of all authority. We created the government to serve us. It is a matter of fact that the created cannot be master to that which created it - namely, us.

Implied consent has no force of law as equal consideration was never offered. There is no such thing as a social contract. Therefore the legal framework has no inherent force of law and can only act on terms and conditions agreed to by you

Aidan Hogg left an annotation ()

I'm quite frankly astounded at some of things I'm reading here. In essence I understand and agree and what could be intelligent philosophical discussions on the existence of entities, governments and legal systems is washed out by what I can just about describe as conspiracy.

First of all in relation to your description of contract. Its wrong. Within the UK for a contract to be valid it requires an offer, acceptance, consideration and an intention to create legal relations. They are the elements. There is no requirement to instil measures of performance, time or events where performance must be made and consideration does not have to be valuable simply of some value. Yes there is a difference.

You are right a statute does not have to apply to all persons but it does not make it not law.

By definition legal and lawful both mean permitted by law.

There the distinction is a criminal offence or civil offence. If you are arrested it is for a criminal offence. You cannot be arrested for a civil offence.

After being detained for 24 hours the options are not only charge or release. You can be detained for a further 12 hours if it and indictable offence (one that must be tried in the Crown Court, so no a summary or triable either way). After this a Magistrate can issue a warrant authorising detention for up to 96 hours.

The legal system can operate without your legal name you utter twit as it did prior to the implementation of civil registration. Yes not providing your name may create difficulties but do not think you won't be charged or tried by failing to provide it.

If the legal system could not operate without a legal name, how could anything regarding an unidentified body happen? Or someone who could not effectively communicate. And while I believe that police can be completely incompetent, I believe 96 hours would be enough for them to find your name after you have sufficiently pissed them off.

Yes your birth certificate created a legal entity attached and associated with yourself. I suppose technically by a stretch of the imagination and broad interpretation of statute etc You could technically say that Yes the Crown Corporation owns your name. But under the same principle so does the companies that print baby name books. Copyright has sufficient exemptions yes it includes the body of the work, but that doesn't mean that any word I've used in this paragraph is now under my copyright does it. Your legal name is one simply used for official or legal purposes. You can willingly type up a deed poll on microsoft word to inform banks etc that you are now using a new official name and to ignore the previous. The Crown Copyright is for the birth certificate.

The obligation to obey government policy comes from its ability to enforce its rule. It does this based on numerous theoretical and legal principles and now in a contemporary international law which allows it to enforce its law within its jurisdiction.

Yes a government is elected into office. Based on the unwritten constitution of this country. That's where it derivies its power. We have west minster today because some people decided they weren't happy with just a king. Americans have theirs because they revolted and instilled upon themselves a written constitution.

If you don't want to obey law of this land then you may very leave to somewhere else or incite a rebellion and instill your own rule of law.

Just to also emphasie the UK operates on a common law system. So yes many of our traditional offences are based on judge made precedent and not written in acts of parliament but thats for political reasons not because they cannot. The doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty clearly states they can. Just as they created the Offences against the person act and GBH section 18 and 20 and that common law developed principles of contract. They are not exclusive.

The enforcement of a legal system is not based on a legal contract. The legal framework has the full force of the Government, Crown Prosecution Service and the Metropolitan Police services. Along with widely accepted validity amongst legal scholars, international law.

To go into social sciences. There is a Social Consensus on the legal system and while you may choose to live amongst a counter culture its force can be applied to you. You may be in many people's eyes born free. If you were in America you would be considered born free, here you are born with certain freedoms, rights and civil liberties. And you were born free. You a free to do or not to do. You are however responsible for acts or omissions freely chosen.

G Webber left an annotation ()

Aidan - this looniness is quite commonplace, sadly. See eg.

Wesley Hayden left an annotation ()

Acts and parlimentary statutes are man made rules.

Rules made by men of the moment.

Who adds and takes away from the Law?

Acts are changeable, ammended, repealed, etc ad nauseum and are designed to bleed people of their income mainly.

Laws are commandments (non negotiable).

Laws are the bedrock of our future inheritence.

Rules of society are changable (negotiable) and are at best ......sand laid down from the previous passing tide.

Best to build your house on the best and most solid foundations....or risk getting swept out into the sea of commerce and be charged by the pirateship for a life jacket.

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