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Date
15 June 2015

Mishcon Thinks: The Anniversary of the Magna Carta

In its 800th year, to what degree is the Magna Carta still relevant? To what extent do its principles need to be reinstated today? 

Transcript

Mishcon Thinks

The Anniversary of the Magna Carta

Michael Hayman MBE
Seven Hills

Anthony Julius, Deputy Chairman of Mishcon de Reya.  Now this June marks the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta guaranteeing freedoms to all men and I guess women now.  To what degree is it still relevant this old document?

Anthony Julius
Deputy Chairman, Mishcon de Reya

The principals in the document are relevant; the document itself is at risk of being exploited by chauvinists.

Michael Hayman MBE
Seven Hills

Right.

Anthony Julius
Deputy Chairman, Mishcon de Reya

The principals relevant to us as practitioners of law and as citizens are very simply expressed.  There are two principals.  The first principal is that no one should be jailed or have their property taken without due process.  The second principal is that that process, the administration of justice should be timely, should be impartial and available to all.

Michael Hayman MBE
Seven Hills

Do you think in this sort of 800th anniversary, how much do you see of this as hype as opposed to a re-statement of the principals of the rule of law?

Anthony Julius
Deputy Chairman, Mishcon de Reya

The rule of law does not need to be re-stated because it was adequately stated in Magna Carta.

Michael Hayman MBE
Seven Hills

Right.

Anthony Julius
Deputy Chairman, Mishcon de Reya

As for the rest it’s not a bad thing to be reminded of those principals from time to time and if it is associated by a certain amount of national self-celebration, that’s a small price to pay.

Michael Hayman MBE
Seven Hills

So 800 years after the Magna Carta, do we have enough in the way of rights today?

Anthony Julius
Deputy Chairman, Mishcon de Reya

It’s not the quantity of rights that’s problematic; it’s their vulnerability, their fragility.

Mishcon de Reya