Magna Carta is one of the most fundamental documents in English Law. Its sealing in 1215 helped to protect the individual from arbitrary imprisonment and abuse from the authorities. It also helped establish and enshrine property rights into the English legal tradition and, furthermore, it went a long way to influence the legal traditions and practices of many other nations. However, while countries across the world still follow the traditions of Magna Carta, it has increasingly been discarded by the authorities and misunderstand by the people within the United Kingdom.
With this in mind, The Freedom Association is involved in a number of projects that seek to increase the awareness and debate the relevance of Magna Carta today. This includes promoting Magna Carta in the 21st Century: Modern Britain and The Erosion of Freedom, a book produced by The Hampden Trust that is designed to highlight to school children how the traditions of Magna Carta are being usurped by legal traditions from elsewhere in the world.
The Freedom Association has organised a number of events around England in order to debate the relevance of the Great Charter. These events are kindly sponsored by The Hampden Trust and The Federalist Society for Public Policy and Law, a US based organisation that seeks to advance the principles of freedom, separation of governmental powers, and judicial review. You can see photos from these events on The Freedom Association’s Flickr page.
The Freedom Association has also joined The Hampden Trust in the promotion of a new publication that is designed to provoke debate on the relevance of Magna Carta in the United Kingdom today. Magna Carta Today was written by the economist, businessman and author, Ewen Stewart, and illustrates the importance of Magna Carta, how its core values have been influenced by governments (both domestically and elsewhere) and what a modern day Magna Carta might look like.
During 2015, The Freedom Association promoted Magna Carta across England and Wales. This promotion includes two books produced with the generous support of The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy and The Global Philanthropic Trust. Copies of the first of these books, published by The Hampden Trust and sponsored by the Federalist Society, were distributed at events across England whilst the book produced by the Global Philanthropic Trust was sent to every maintained school in England and Wales.
The political agenda has now moved and the Government is due to introduce plans for a new British Bill of Rights, which will be debated by Parliament in due course. In order to inform the process, The Freedom Association has contributed to the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee’s call for evidence regarding a ‘new Magna Carta’, written blogs and opinion pieces and is campaigning for any British Bill of Rights to be based on English legal principles laid out in Magna Carta.