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Magna Carta and its Modern Legacy

Part of Comparative Constitutional Law and Policy

James Melton, Robert Hazell, Vernon Bogdanor, Anthony King, Roger Mortimore, Renée Lettow Lerner, Derek O'Brien, David Clark, Craig S. Lerner, Victor Menaldo, Nora Webb Williams, Geraldine Van Bueren, Nathalie Riendeau
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  • Date Published: April 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107533103

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About the Authors
  • Magna Carta is celebrated around the world as a symbol of limited government and constitutionalism. But in 1215 Magna Carta was a failure, abrogated within months. Why then do we celebrate this piece of parchment? To mark the 800th anniversary this book brings together top scholars from the UK, US and Australia to answer this question and analyse Magna Carta's historic and contemporary influence. Using a political science framework, Magna Carta and its Modern Legacy draws from scholarship on influence and constitutional design to explain how parchment can contain executive power. Individual chapters on Britain discuss such topics as socioeconomic rights in Magna Carta; Magna Carta and the British constitution; and public understanding of the charter. Internationally-focused chapters look at Magna Carta and jury trial in America, slavery in the Caribbean, court delays in the Pacific, the proportionality principle, and judicial supremacy.

    • Includes a roster of leading scholars in political science disciplines
    • Global scope examines the influence of the Magna Carta not only in the United Kingdom but also in the United States, the Caribbean, and the Pacific
    • Challenges the conventional wisdom that the Magna Carta's impact has been wholly beneficial
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This is a worthy contribution to the study of Magna Carta at the dawn of the twenty-first century. It presents the reader with novel insights into the Great Charter’s history and highlights talking points in the broader conversation about its place in the constitutional thought of the future. Its critical tone may help inoculate students against the mythology of Runnymede. But the collection also makes clear that, however mixed its legacy, and however modest its 'actual, direct' influence, Magna Carta will continue to structure debate around the most pressing questions of public power and individual liberty.' J. G. Allen, The Cambridge Law Journal

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107533103
    • length: 286 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.41kg
    • contains: 2 b/w illus. 7 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Preface
    1. Magna Carta… Holy Grail? James Melton and Robert Hazell
    Part I. Influence in the UK:
    2. Magna Carta, the rule of law and the reform of the Constitution Vernon Bogdanor
    3. Eight centuries on: who are Britain's barons now? Anthony King
    4. What Magna Carta means to the modern British public Roger Mortimore
    Part II. Influence around the World:
    5. The troublesome inheritance of Americans in Magna Carta and trial by jury Renée Lettow Lerner
    6. Magna Carta, the 'sugar colonies' and 'fantasies of empire' Derek O'Brien
    7. Magna Carta frustrated? Institutional delay in the Pacific Island states of the Commonwealth David Clark
    Part III. Twenty-First-Century Reflections on Magna Carta:
    8. Magna Carta and modern myth-making: proportionality in the 'cruel and unusual punishments' clause Craig S. Lerner
    9. Judicial supremacy: explaining false starts and surprising successes Victor Menaldo and Nora Webb Williams
    10. More magna than the Magna Carta: Magna Carta's sister – the Charter of the Forest Geraldine Van Bueren
    11. Michael Oakeshott, the legendary past and Magna Carta Nathalie Riendeau
    Appendix: English translation of Magna Carta (1215).

  • Editors

    Robert Hazell, University College London
    Robert Hazell is Professor of Government and the Constitution at University College London. He is the Founder and Director of the Constitution Unit, an independent think tank specialising in constitutional reform that has published detailed reports on Britain's constitutional reform programme. Professor Hazell frequently appears on the BBC and other media to talk about constitutional issues, and has received the Political Studies Association's Communication Award.

    James Melton, University College London
    James Melton is a Senior Lecturer in Comparative Politics at University College London. His research focuses on comparative constitutional design, investigating the origins, stability, and enforcement of formal constitutional texts. He is a principal investigator at the Comparative Constitutions Project and co-author of the project's first book, The Endurance of National Constitutions (Cambridge University Press, 2009).

    Contributors

    James Melton, Robert Hazell, Vernon Bogdanor, Anthony King, Roger Mortimore, Renée Lettow Lerner, Derek O'Brien, David Clark, Craig S. Lerner, Victor Menaldo, Nora Webb Williams, Geraldine Van Bueren, Nathalie Riendeau

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