The Magna Carta is a landmark in British history and human rights law. June 2015 marked the 800th anniversary. The British Library ran an exhibition from 13th March until 1st September to celebrate the occasion. The exhibition was entitled:
|Medieval documents preserved under glass and in dark|
or stripped of his rights or possessions,
or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any way,
nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so,
except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land."
No one above the law
The 2015 issue of the Magna Carta contained 63 clauses. The 1297 version under Edward 1 had just 37 clauses. I particularly liked the visual way the exhibition showed the deletions over time. Clause 1 still remains today. It relates to the liberties of the English Church. Clause 9 confirms the liberties and customs of the city of London, and other towns and cities.
|Visual explaining deletions in the document clauses|
|Cornelia Parker's Magna Carta Embroidery|
An opportunity for the general public to interact at the end would have been great. Posting human rights suggestions could have brought the exhibition right up-to-date.
Although little remains of the Magna Carta's text in law today, it provided the foundation for many other such documents. Its influence and spirit endures.
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