In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Magna Carta: The Rule of Law’s foundation?

Posted by seumasach on December 2, 2014

As this article correctly points out Magna Carta “was, for the large part, an agreement between the State and rich and powerful stakeholders. It was never intended to be a charter that protected individual rights. The “free man” in Clause 39 did not refer to the majority populace who were serfs and were always oppressed by the rich and powerful feudal lords.” How then did it become “…the greatest constitutional document of all times – the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot”? It didn’t. Nothing in Magna Carta protects the individual against the arbitrary authority of the rich and powerful. Only the sovereign state, independent of oligarchical control, can do that and it was precisely this power that Magna Carta was directed against. It is appropriate that Magna Carta should be coming back into fashion as devolution of powers away from central government creates a weak state or an ensemble of weak administrative entities easily subject to corporate control. Furthermore, if Magna Carta was such a significant and historic document why did the Great Bard himself make no reference to it in his play “King John”. Instead, he recounts a treasonous plot by the barons against the legitimate sovereign- precisely the point!

Magna Carta: The Rule of Law’s foundation

The Star

1st December, 2014

THE United Kingdom, unlike Malaysia, does not have a written constitution. What this means is that there is not a single document, like our own Federal Constitution, which is the highest law of the country. That is not to say that the United Kingdom has no constitution; the constitution of the United Kingdom can be found in several different sources.

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