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Albert Haddock is the protagonist, and alter ego of the author, in many of the fictional law reports written by A. P. Herbert for Punch magazine between 1910 and the 1950s, and also published in a number of books.

Haddock is a prodigious litigant, who attempts to highlight absurdities or contradictions in the law through either initiating court cases, or by commiting acts which result in others taking him to court, or in his being arrested and prosecuted.

A particularly well-known example of a case involving Mr Haddock is Board of Inland Revenue v Haddock,[1] otherwise known as The Negotiable Cow. Haddock, during a dispute with the Collector of Taxes about his income tax, successfully argues that a cheque written on the abdomen of a cow is a valid cheque, and therefore the Collector, having refused to accept the cow as payment of the outstanding tax, is estopped from demanding payment by other means.

Other cases involving Mr Haddock include:

Uncommon Law[2]

  • Rex v Haddock (Is a Golfer a Gentleman?)
  • Rex v Haddock (Is it a Free Country?)
  • Rex v Haddock (Is Magna Carta Law?)
  • Suet v Haddock (Status of Authors)
  • Bishop of Bowl and Others v Haddock (A Cross Action)
  • Haddock v The King and Others (The Let and Hindrance)
  • Haddock v Thwale (What is a Motor Car)
  • Urban District Council of Burbleton v Haddock (The Freedom of the Shores)
  • Haddock and Others v Board of Inland Revenue (Wear and Tear)
  • Rumpelheimer v Haddock (Port to Port)
  • Board of Inland Revenue v Haddock (Why is the House of Lords)
  • Haddock v Mogul Hotels Ltd (The Last Glass) -
  • Haddock v Jones (Law of Libel Reformed)
  • Macintosh and Others v Haddock, Haddock, Haddock, Haddock and Haddock Ltd (British Masterpieces Ltd intervening) (Incorporation of Haddock)
  • Rex v Haddock (The Human Hen)
  • Board of Inland Revenue v Haddock (The Judges' Reply)
  • Rex v Haddock (Crime in the Commons)

Cod's Last Case[3]

  • Greenwich Women's Rowing Club v Haddock, 1940 (What is a Rowing Boat?) – concerning whether rowing boats should give way to motor-boats on the River Thames, or vice-versa
  • Haddock v Silkworm, 1943 (Books into Bombs) – a suit for defamation brought by Mr Haddock against a shop-owner who included some of Haddock's books in a display promoting recycling for the war-effort
  • Haddock v Mole, 1944 (The Case of the Orange Globes) – a claim for personal injury, involving a discussion as to whether the absence of the orange globes normally included on belisha beacons (which had been lost or damaged) meant that pedestrians no longer had priority over cars
  • Haddock v Tomkins and Isaac, 1944 (What is a Reactionary?) – another defamation case brought by Mr Haddock, this time regarding whether the term "reactionary" (a term often used by politicians against their opponents) is capable of being defamatory
  • Haddock v Oundle; Haddock v Smith; Haddock v The General Press; Haddock v Buzzings and the Bilious Weekly; Haddock v Cooper, 1947 (The Whale Case) – in this case, Haddock sued a number of newspapers which published obituaries after he was lost overboard, believed drowned, on a sea journey (although he had in fact been swallowed by a whale and rescued when the whale was harpooned by hunters)
  • House of Commons (Kitchen Committee) v Haddock, 1949 (The Egg of Exchange) – a second case concerning cheques: in this case, the cheque in question was written on an egg
  • Rex v Haddock and Vine, 1951 (Bookmakers All) – Haddock, wishing to avoid paying income tax on profits from the sales of his books, arranged with his publisher for his royalties to take the form of gambling winnings (which were not taxable) from bets on the success of his published works
  • Rex v Gentle, Good and Haddock, 1951 (Paying to Rule) – yet another case about entertainment duty, and whether the managers of theatres, dog-race tracks, etc should be required to act as tax collectors on behalf of the Inland Revenue
  • Rex v Haddock; Haddock v Rex, 1951 (The Lords Rebel) – concerning the Exchange Control Act 1947, which limited the amount of currency which could be taken out of, or brought into, the United Kingdom to only small amounts
  • Albert and Gloria Haddock v The King, 1951 (Whose Passport is Yours?) – about whether or not passports are personal property, or liable to be withdrawn by the State at any time
  • Temper v Hume and Haddock, 1951 (Slander at Sea) – a further case involving slander and defamation, but this time involving insults delivered by ships' signal flags


  1. ^ Herbert, A.P. (1935). Uncommon Law. London: Methuen & Co Ltd. pp. 201–206. 
  2. ^ Herbert, A.P. (1935). Uncommon Law. London: Methuen & Co Ltd. 
  3. ^ Herbert, A.P. (1952). Cod's Last Case. London: Methuen & Co Ltd. 

The Trials of Albert Haddock