Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Magna Carta and The British Terrorism Act

King John, on June 15, 1215, in Clause 61 - the ‘safety’ clause - of the Magna Carta legalised rebellion should he himself break the charter, and permitted the establishment, under those conditions, of a committee of 25 barons to supervise the government. The relevant section of Clause 61 reads:

“If we, our Chief Justice, our officials, or any of our servants offend in any respect against any man, or transgress any of the articles of the peace or of this security, and the offence is made known to four of the said twenty-five barons, they shall come to us - or in our absence from the kingdom to the chief justice - to declare it and claim immediate redress. If we, or in our absence abroad the Chief Justice, make no redress within forty days, reckoning from the day on which the offence was declared to us or to him, the four barons shall refer the matter to the rest of the twenty-five barons, who may distrain upon and assail us in every way possible, with the support of the whole community of the land, by seizing our castles, lands, possessions, or anything else saving only our own person and those of the queen and our children, until they have secured such redress as they have determined upon” (From The British Library’s Online Information Server)

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