There has been much rhetoric in recent months about the validity and efficacy of Ch.61 Magna Carta 1215 and whether or not it has any relevance in modern law practise, That it had been signed under duress and that Pope Innocent III even denounced it. We have been subjected to a number of arguments from both solicitors and law students who are of the opinion that MC1215 is an arcane law with no modern relevance or effect. It should be pointed out that law degrees have not included constitutional law as a mandatory subject of study or examination since the mid-1970’s in Britain and consequently lawyers are very poorly trained in the subject.
If MC1215 were irrelevant, why would Leolin Price Q.C. have sanctioned the petition to the Queen, delivered 8 February 2001? This petition then led to Article 61 being invoked the following month. Surely if Magna Carta was void of relevance, such an educated practitioner of law would not have agreed it as both timely and relevant, not to mention legally sound? Surely the Queen would not have responded to it (however inappropriately) but rather simply ignored it as void. For this reason we feel it is now, it’s appropriate to bring everyone’s attention Halsbury’s vol 44 entry on constitutional Acts. Pay particular attention to the fact that Magna Carta 1215 is expressly cited – and the notable absence of the largely repealed 1297 Act.
One of the commonly cited arguments is that Magna Carta is “largely symbolic” and not arguable in court. Let us see what Halsbury’s says about this, too. . .
(iii) Particular Types of Act
- CONSTITUTIONAL, TREATY AND FINANCIAL ACTS
- Constitutional Acts.
The British Constitution is said to be ‘unwritten’. This only means that, unlike most countries, the United Kingdom does not possess a single comprehensive constitution and much of its constitutional principle is embodied in the common law. There are nevertheless a number of historic statutes regarded as embodying and setting forth the state’s constitutional principles1. Any modern Act which amends or adds to these may also be regarded as a constitutional Act2. The main significance of classing an Act as a constitutional Act lies in the nature of the interpretative criteria which then apply to it. In particular, the rights the Act confers, having the quality of constitutional rights, will be regarded by the courts as fundamental and not to be displaced except by clear words3.
1 See eg Magna Carta (1215); the Bill of Rights (1689); the Act of Settlement (1700); the Septennial Act 1715.
2 See eg the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949; the Crown Proceedings Act 1947; the Representation of the People Acts 1949 to 1983; the House of Commons Disqualification Acts 1957 and 1975; the Crown Estate Act 1961; and the Supreme Court Act 1981.
3 See para 1299 text and note 5 post.
1221 Constitutional Acts
note 2–Supreme Court Act 1981 now cited as Senior Courts Act 1981: Constitutional Reform Act 2005 Sch 11 para 1 (in force on 1 October 2009: SI 2009/1604).
As you will see from the final sentence, Halsbury’s does not consider Magna Carta to be ‘largely symbolic’ but rather fundamental to the courts.
If in doubt about the authenticity of the validity of Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights, the Thoburn judgment has clearly described these as “constitutional statutes” which are “immune from implied repeal.” This means that no legislation subsequently enacted can in any way alter their legal efficacy. Remember, Magna Carta 1215 pre-dates parliament and therefore it has no authority to abrogate or repeal it. The Bill of Rights binds successive parliaments, whether they like it or not. Often one argument proffered is that no legislation can bind successive parliaments however if you read the Human Rights Act 1998, you will see it does exactly this, nullifying that very argument! Whilst parliament may repeal the HRA, removing that binding, they may not repeal Magna Carta 1215 or the Bill of Rights which makes them binding in perpetuity.
We would also like to share with you the comments made by Lord Renton in the House of Lords in 2000 (recorded in Hansard) in response to a speech by The Earl Russell. The Honourable Lord Renton stated:
”My Lords, before the noble Earl sits down, perhaps I may mention one point in relation to his fascinating speech. He suggested that we should amend Magna Carta. We cannot do that. Magna Carta was formulated before we ever had a Parliament. All that we can do is to amend that legislation which, in later years when we did have a Parliament, implemented Magna Carta.”
Still a little unsure?
Lord Ashbourne, a Conservative hereditary peer ousted from the Lords under Tony Blair’s reforms, said: “These rights may not have been exercised for 300 years but only because they were not needed. Well, we need them now. They may be a little dusty but they are in good order.” (More info)
The House of Lords Records Office confirmed in writing as recently as 2009 that Magna Carta, signed by King John in June 1215, stands to this day. Home Secretary Jack Straw said as much on 1 October 2000, when the Human Rights Act came into force. Halsbury’s Laws of England says: “Magna Carta is as binding upon the Crown today as it was the day it was sealed at Runnymede.”
Signed Under Duress?
Some will tell you that because he sealed it under duress it isn’t valid, which is complete rubbish! He had a choice, face revolt and civil war or stop being such a tyrant. He would certainly have lost the crown if it had gone to war.
Firstly it wasn’t signed (as people say ‘with VC’) it was sealed with the royal seal. And secondly – title of the land was then, and still is lawfully today, settled by ‘trial by combat’. The type of duress was perfectly lawful. Trial by combat is still an unrepealed law to settle land title today. If we are conquered in war for example. John (a lawless king) was in a position where he had been defeated by his own subject who then had right to title of the land. However the barons allowed John to keep the throne if certain laws were put into place to protect the people. Perfectly lawful. -Beware those that claim MC 1215 was signed under duress! Magna Carta was ratiified MANY times by successive rulers and stands as Law today! ONLY the ignorance of the masses allows this FACT to be ignored by ‘policy enforcers’, judges, bureaucrats, politicians,…-
Also according to feudal protocols, the king was at all times subject and bound under the Common Law terms of his coronation oath to uphold the Law of the Land, legem terrae. The king’s numerous atrocities and unchivalrous gross offences placed him outside the Law of the Land to which he was already subject and bound by oath. (Click for more info)
“Throughout John’s vicious rule and leading up to the confrontation with the people’s just forces of law and order, he mercilessly inflicted what we would call today, ‘a reign of terror’: widespread injustice, acts of disseizin (unlawful dispossession of property) at the hands of his lawless government justices; of his mercenary forces committing acts of homicide, wanton butchery, torture, the cutting-out of tongues, the putting out of eyes, the slitting-off of ears and noses, of robbery, rapine, extortion and depredation; in short, inhuman criminal misrule by outlaws led by a robber king.
Not only did John break every kind of moral and legal obligation binding on a monarch and a man, but he breached his compact (ie, ‘contract’ or constitution) with his equals, the nobility – and with all other parties to the feudal agreementwhich comprised the entire population, including the land-holding freemen, churchmen and commoners who shared wide alloments of common land made available for sustenance of a large proportion of the populace. The land and nation was feudally ‘owned’, distributed, occupied and worked. Without the concurrence of his nobles, his equals (peers), King John had no authority whatsoever to make treaties with anyone – popes notwithstanding – for what he considered his benefit, against the interests of the people and the Law of the Land.”
Didn’t Pope Innocent III Declare that the Magna Carta was “null, and void of all validity for ever”?
Yes he did. But what authority Did he have over it? What authority does the pope have over our land and our monarchy? The Magna Carta, Declaration and Bill of Rights has clauses built in that make it impossible specifically for any foreign ruler to have power over the sovereign.
- The Magna Carta 1215 and The Bill of Rights 1689 reinstate our unalienable RIGHTS derived from the Common Law. Parliment is bound by them. They are peace treaties between the Crown (institution) and the people.
No one can take these liberties and freedoms away. Article 63 states it’s for all time. And the ruling given to King Edward 3rd in 1366 in which he was told that King John’s action in surrendering England to the Pope, and ruling England as a Vassal King to Rome was illegal because England did not belong to John he only held it in trust for those who followed on. The Money the Pope was demanding as tribute was not to be paid. Because England’s Kings were not vassal Kings to the Pope and the money was not owed.
Like it or not, we the people of Britain have an unalienable right to rely upon Magna Carta and the Bill/Declaration of Rights (among others) to protect those same unalienable rights. However, with increasing despotism from the UK executive who believe they are in power rather than in office, we the people MUST stand under our established constitution as embodied in the common law or we will permit it to be abrogated.
Magna Carta 1215 Ch.61 was invoked by a correctly constituted committee of the barons on 23 March 2001 and remains in effect to this very day. If everyone in the UK Stood Under it, we could take back control of the country from the psychopaths that believe they rule it.
- Under Article 61 (sworn allegiance to the Barons Committee whom invoked the clause) you have a RIGHT to distress and distrain the Crown in all ways you can, especially by withholding taxes. It is Lawful Excuse which you obtain once sworn. Lawful excuse allows you to commit a lesser crime to prevent ourselves from aiding and abetting a bigger crime, that crime being treason.
“Here is a law which is above the King and Parliament, and which even He and They must not and may not legally break. And in the event they or anyone else were to try to abrogate it, such attempt at abrogation shall have no force nor effect and can be safely ignored with no legal ill effect. In addition, in the event of successful attempts at abrogation of such liberties, customs, or rights, the King has commanded and do hereby compel any and all subjects to swear oath to join the barons to assail the properties and persons and families of those [. . . .] who had successfully completed such abrogation, including but not limited to that of the individual Members of Parliament who had voted in favour of any such successful attempts at abrogation. This reaffirmation of a supreme law and its expression in a general charter is the great work of Magna Carta; and this alone justifies the respect in which men have held it.”
[Churchill, A History of the English Speaking Peoples (1956)]
In times past, words and their meaning had value and were fully respected. Sir Robert Howard, a member of the Convention Parliament, and of the drafting committee for the Bill of Rights, wrote:
“The people have always had the same title to their liberties and properties that England’s kings have had unto their crowns. The several charters of the people’s rights, most particularly the Magna Carta were not grants from the King, but recognition’s by the King of rights that have been reserved or that appertained unto us by common law and immemorial custom.”
In other words, any attempts to reduce the rights, freedoms and liberties enshrined in the constitution would be ultra vires.
 “IT IS ACCORDINGLY OUR WISH AND COMMAND that the English Church shall be free, and that men in our kingdom shall have and keep all these liberties, rights, and concessions, well and peaceably in their fullness and entirety for them and their heirs, of us and our heirs, in all things and all places for ever.
Both we and the barons have sworn that all this shall be observed in good faith and without deceit. Witness the abovementioned people and many others…”
– See more at: https://www.bl.uk/magna-carta/articles/magna-carta-english-translation#sthash.wbzcQv7e.dpuf
So it’s clear that the 1215 charter is irrevocable and is also with us forever. It’s also clear that if ANYONE tried/tries to take these liberties and freedoms away, their actions will be void and would fall as null with no effect.
The sixty-first clause, one of the most important in the Charter, which was pressed on King John at Runnymede, allowed in 2001, subjects of the realm to present a quorum of 25 barons with a petition, which four of their number then have to take to the Monarch, who must accept it. It was last used in 1688 at the start of the Glorious Revolution.
In a mock trial on 31 July 2015 for the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, at Westminster Hall, the Magna Carta Barons were charged with Treason for their involvement in the sealing of Magna Carta in 1215. A unanimous verdict of Not Guilty was returned by the Hon. Justice Stephen Breyer, Lord Neuberger, President of the UK Supreme Court, and Dame Sian Elias, Chief Justice of New Zealand.