“On a fast track to an ASBO.” – Our shortlist for the must-watch films this festive season (and their hidden legal sub-plots).
Contrary to what you might think, there’s a whole raft of legal subtext to your Christmas favourites (sort of). Here, we offer our top suggestions for the best Christmas films to watch this festive season, through a uniquely Chambers Student lens…
1 The Santa Clause
If Santa is checking his list twice, he might want to check over his contracts too. The Santa Clause is a masterclass in how NOT to enter legal relations. Aside from the clear uncertainty around the rights and obligations under the agreement, poor Scott is being made to take on the mantle of Santa Claus for nothing in return! So much for Christmas spirit…
2 The Grinch
Trespassing, harassment, assault and battery, even animal abuse. These are just a whiff of some of the crimes committed by the Grinch during his reign of terror in Whoville. The residents are brave to forgive him in the end. If this was the UK, he’d be on a fast track to an ASBO.
3 Love Actually
Joining an increasing list of films that didn’t age well, next up is Love Actually. Admittedly, it’s difficult to know where to begin. GDPR aficionados will be left wringing their hands watching that creepy wedding footage of Keira Knightly. At the very least, you’d think there was room for a civil claim somewhere in there. He was there to film the wedding after all…
Redeeming our list is the ever-lovable Elf. Whether it’s the restraining order he’s slapped with for fighting an imposter Santa, or the tree he chops down in a public park, Buddy the Elf has had his fair share of run-ins with the law. But hey, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he got permission to remove the tree. It is Christmas after all.
5 Home Alone
Poor old Kevin. Whether the negligence lies with his parents or the police, he definitely finds himself a victim of the system in this 90’s classic. You’ve got to imagine too that if the McAllisters made a claim for the damage done to their home, it would be ripe ground for a bitter and lengthy insurance dispute.
6 Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
Oompa loompa doompety dee, is Willy Wonka paying employees? For all the money Wonka must have, you’d think there’d be some left to pay his beloved workers. But instead, the Oompa Loompas get paid with cocoa beans, taking ‘keep them sweet’ to a new extreme. No wonder the factory is typically off limits to the outside world, otherwise he’d be hit with the smell of an employment tribunal.
7 The Polar Express
Let’s face it, we’ve all had a bad train journey at one point or another. But the polar express is surely more than anyone could bear. Obviously, the crew are looking at a whole freight of professional negligence claims, from allowing children to drive the train to skiing on the carriage rooftops. But their worst crime? Probably taking children from their homes without parental permission. If there’s one improvement for the crew, it’s more conducting less abducting.