|Long title||An Act for preventing certain Abuses and Profanations on the Lord's Day called Sunday.|
|Citation||21 Geo 3 c 49|
|Repealed||24 November 2005|
|Repealed by||The Licensing Act 2003, ss. 198(1) & 199 & Sch.6, para.3 & Sch.7|
The Sunday Observance Act 1780 (21 Geo 3 c 49) was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain. Originally eight sections long, only sections 1 to 3 were still in force after the 1960s. These sections prohibited the use of any building or room for public entertainment or debate on a Sunday.
In 1931, Millie Orpen, a solicitor's clerk, brought an action as a common informer against a cinema chain for opening on a succession of Sundays, contrary to the Sunday Observance Act 1780, s.1. Orpen claimed £25,000 against the cinema company and individual members of its board of directors. The claim was based on a forfeit of £200 per performance per defendant. The judge, Mr Justice Rowlatt, expressed some distaste for the proceedings. He found against the cinema chain, awarding Orpen £5,000, with costs, but found for the individual directors on the grounds that there was no evidence that they were guilty on any particular Sunday. Costs were awarded to the directors against Orpen. The judge granted a stay pending an appeal by the company. Later in the year, Orpen brought a claim against another chain, but was thwarted[clarification needed] by a change in the law legalising Sunday opening for cinemas before her case could be decided.
This Act was affected by sections 1(1) and (3) of the Common Informers Act 1951. Its provisions were tightened by the
Its provisions were excluded in relation to certain activities by:
The following cases were decided in relation to the Act:
Sections 1 to 3 were repealed by the Licensing Act 2003 (with effect from 24 November 2005).
Sections 4 and 5 were repealed by the Statute Law Revision Act 1966.
Section 6 was repealed in part by section 2 of the Limitation of Actions and Costs Act 1842 and entirely by section 2 of the Public Authorities Protection Act 1893.
Section 7 was repealed by section 87 of, and Schedule 5 to, the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure 1963.
Section 8 was repealed by the Statute Law Revision Act 1966.