Magna Carta

The legacy

M A G N A  C A R T A  L E G A L  L E G A C Y

Magna Carta was a watershed in English legal and political history. It underpins many of the most important aspects of legislation, particularly concerning human rights. One of the most significant of these is Habeas Corpus, refined in 17th century when Magna Carta was being rediscovered as an affirmation of individual liberties.

Drawing directly on clauses from Magna Carta, Habeas Corpus states that no-one should be imprisoned or held in custody without a fair trial. It is one of the most important privileges associated with English civil liberties and has been used to defend and champion freedoms ever since.

W H A T  W O U L D  M A G N A  C A R T A  2 0 1 5  

C O N T A I N ?

Magna Carta’s legacy has been kept alive by each generation reinterpreting the text and finding a meaning in it that is relevant to them. Whilst much of the detail in Magna Carta is now obsolete, the principles of freedom, liberty and justice are as important today as they were 800 years ago. How can we use the principles of Magna Carta to create a fairer society? How do we deliver justice for all, when oppression still exists in the world? How do we make tough decisions about issues like climate change, migration and national security when the outcome might restrict individual freedoms? Whose powers do we need to limit, and whose rights do we need to defend?