That’s how one eminent British historian is describing the Magna Carta, which in a few weeks will celebrate its 800th anniversary. The event is being marked in the United Kingdom and also in those countries, such as the United States, who have included Magna Carta’s principles in their own constitutions.
Here at home a special service celebrating the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta will be held at Holy Trinity Cathedral, Parnell on Sunday 14th June at 5pm - Justices of the Peace are invited.
Magna Carta’s principles bear on almost every duty Justices of the Peace have been carrying out over the centuries, responsibilities which more or less parallel the time since the Great Charter was signed on June 15, 1215.
Some overseas academics have revisited their studies of Magna Carta, or Great Charter, as part of the 800th celebrations, and they conclude it’s just as relevant today as it was the day it was in signed at Runnymede in Surrey.
Past evidence shows the Magna Carta’s simple ideas of freedom and justice have, jurists say, become part of the genetic structure of humankind.
Today, academics point out, Magna Carta is evoked and cited whenever basic freedoms come under threat from over-zealous governments.
Future challenges, historians predict, mean that its principles, with the power of social networking, the internet and other electronic means to spread them, will no doubt continue to have huge influence, wherever freedom is under attack.
Magna Carta, among other principles,
- assured basic rights with the principle that no-one was above the law, including the king,
- meant no free man could be imprisoned without a fair trial, lawful judgement of his equals,
- enabled the questioning of institutions which represent us.
Another historian summed it up – “Magna Carta’s the foundation of democracy and our rule of our law - its 800th anniversary is worth celebrating!”.