The 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carter was commemorated by a ceremony at the American Bar Association’s Magna Carta Memorial Runneymede attended by the Queen and members of the Royal family including Princess Anne who rededicated the memorial, saying Magna Carta “provides us with one of our most basic doctrines – that no person is above the law”.
The Magna Carta is certainly well regarded as an historical principle document within which the fundamental rights of liberty are based, however, David Barrett writing for the Saturday Telegraph, refers to comments made by Lord Sumption, a Justice of the Supreme Court, who described the document as long, technical and turgid. In the view of Lord Sumption “Magna Carta is a document for 1215, and not for all time”. He added “Magna Carta may have been an ambitious document for its time, but it is nothing like as ambitious as the Declaration des Droits de l’Homme et du Citoyen” written at the time of the French Revolution.
Lord Sumptions view demonstrates the ever changing landscape of law within which we operate and that even very basic principles can change subtly in order to reflect the current socio-political environment in which we live.
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