Thursday, 27 November 2014

Magna Carta

The UK Human Rights blog has drawn attention to a new book - "Magna Carta and its progeny" - Hart Publishing, October 2014 - details here

The authors are  Anthony Arlidge QC and the former Lord Chief Justice  - Lord Judge.

Magna Carta was the subject of my blogpost on 17th June - Magna Carta - is she still alive?

The real historical importance of Magna Carta lies in the fact that later generations saw embedded in the Charter the important ideas that those who govern must abide by the law and also that the governed would have access to justice.  There is no doubt that the document came to be venerated and it has had a wide ranging influence through the common law world and perhaps beyond.  Indeed, its influence has been far greater than the actual legal merit of the charter deserved.  After all, the document was essentially concerned with the feudal rights of some of the wealthiest people of the day.   

The need for access to justice is as important as ever and, in today's society with highly complex law, legal representation should be a basic right.  The government will wish to capitalise on 2015 being the 800th Anniversary of Magna Carta BUT it cannot and must not be forgotten that the government has minimised legal aid and, as a consequence, access to justice for the majority of the population.  For the very rich, the legal system continues to offer a "Rolls Royce" service as discussed here in this excellent post on the Steve Cornforth blog.

The Independent - Magna Carta: Contemporary account of the signing of historic document discovered

Addendum 15th June 2015:

For a more recent speech on Magna Carta see Lord Sumption's address to the British Library - Magna Carta then and now - 9th March 2015

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