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Seminar The Legacy of Magna Carta at the House of Commons

Posted June 11, 2015 in Articles










Celebrating 800 years of Magna Carta



25 June 2015 – Jubilee Room, Westminster SW1A 0AA

 11am – 2 pm 

This year Pro Art is contributing to the wider celebration of the Anniversary of Magna Carta. Pro Art is organising a debating programme dedicated to discussions on the meaning of democracy in different societies and especially to the symbolical meaning of Magna Carta and its historic influence.  It aims to connect the audience with democracy in the UK and in Europe through a series of talks. This year of celebrating Magna Carta 800 years has inspired many organisations to explore what democracy means, how it would be implemented in their community and what benefits they have through their active citizenship.

Pro Art & Co and  Santara Sviesa UK Club are organising a seminar at the House of Commons on the Legacy of Magna Carta on the European and World Democracies, reflecting on the principal influences of the Great Charter of Liberties and the following set of charters in the UK, on the similar democratic processes and civil rights elsewher

Magna Carta’s historic role and importance is symbolic today. Nevertheless it linked European medieval kingdoms through influences of the Charters of Liberties on their laws, which aimed to limit the power of the ruling classes and to give more rights to people, constituted through greater civil liberties, which eventually led to changes in the political systems and instituted democracy as the ruling principle of governing.

Debate to follow.

The participating lecturers in this seminar are from the UK and other European countries, who will bring their experiences and knowledge on democratic processes and the historical importance of Magna Carta.

The participating lecturers in this seminar who will bring their experiences and knowledge on democratic processes and historical importance of Magna Carta are:

  Rosalie Rivett, CEO Women Diplomatic Service

   Lord Malcolm Pearson, Baron Pearson of Rannoch

  Egidijus Aleksandravičius, Professor of History at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, Lithuania

Information about other participating lecturers will follow.

 Entrance: Free

 Registration required.    E-mail

The Magna Carta (originally known as the Charter of Liberties) of 1215, written in iron gall ink on parchment in medieval Latin, using standard abbreviations of the period, authenticated with the Great Seal of King John.

Magna Carta Magna Carta Libertatum (the Great Charter of the Liberties) is the first of a series of constitutional charters in English law implemented from 1215 onwards. It was negotiated between King John of England and a group of revolted barons and signed at Runnymede on Thames on 15th June 1215. The Archbishop of Canterbury drafted it in order to make peace between the opposing parties. It included the protection of church rights, protection for the barons from illegal imprisonment, access to prompt justice, and limitations on feudal payments to the Crown. The council of 25 barons had been elected to realize it. The charter was annulled by Pope Innocent III, because it failed to be put in practice and led to the First Barons’ War.

“The charter became part of English political life and was typically renewed by each monarch in turn, although as time went by and the fledgling English Parliament passed new laws, it lost some of its practical significance. At the end of the 16th century there was an upsurge in interest in Magna Carta. Lawyers and historians at the time believed that there was an ancient English constitution, going back to the days of the Anglo-Saxons, that protected individual English freedoms. They argued that the Norman invasion of 1066 had overthrown these rights, and that Magna Carta had been a popular attempt to restore them, making the charter an essential foundation for the contemporary powers of Parliament and legal principles.

The political myth of Magna Carta and its protection of ancient personal liberties persisted after the Glorious Revolution of 1688  (overthrowing King James II of England, VII of Scotland and II of Ireland by a union of English Parliamentarians joined by William of Orange),  until well into the 19th century. It influenced the early American colonists in the Thirteen Colonies and the formation of the American Constitution in 1789, which became the supreme law of the land in the new republic of the United States. Research by Victorian historians showed that the original 1215 charter had concerned the medieval relationship between the monarch and the barons, rather than the rights of ordinary people, but the charter remained a powerful, iconic document, even after almost all of its content was repealed from the statute books in the 19th and 20th centuries. Magna Carta still forms an important symbol of liberty today,”  (Wikipedia)

Today, four exemplifications of the original 1215 charter remain in existence, held by the British Library and the cathedrals of Lincoln and Salisbury.


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