Magna Carta was written by a group of 13th-century barons to protect their rights and property against a tyrannical king. It is concerned with many practical matters and specific grievances relevant to the feudal system under which they lived. The interests of the common man were hardly apparent in the minds of the men who brokered the agreement. But there are two principles expressed in Magna Carta that resonate to this day:
"No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned, disseised, outlawed, banished, or in any way destroyed, nor will We proceed against or prosecute him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land."
"To no one will We sell, to no one will We deny or delay, right or justice."
Jennifer Lees-Marshment is an Associate Professor at the University of Auckland, researching the relationship between politicians, government and public opinion, mainly through the field of political marketing, but more recently leadership and government. She has been awarded a £10,000 grant by the UK Government's Magna Carta Trust to create and chair New Zealand's Magna Carta 800 Committee.
Dr Stephen Winter is Senior Lecturer, Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Auckland, and lead organiser of the Magna Carta 800 lecture series. Previously a doctoral student and lecturer at the University of Oxford, his research includes the rule of law and the nature of the state.
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- The Maori Magna Carta