About this Magna Carter thingy

After my peregrinations about the ticking constitutional time bomb created by the Lisbon, Maastricht, Nice, and Rome treaties with the EU, I found myself wondering what there is a dissenting private citizen can do. Within the law of course.

After a brief comment conversation over at Orphans of Liberty with the erudite legal blogger Tom Paine on a related matter, I elected to do a little digging.   In doing so, I took time out to read the full English text of the Magna Carta, a key constitutional document which Queen Elizabeth swore to uphold in her coronation speech, as have so many of her forbears.  In amongst all the anachronistic stuff about Fish Weirs, etc, and the still valid rights of widows and right to a trial by your peers (Not by what is effectively a foreign power), I came across this little gem.

(61) SINCE WE HAVE GRANTED ALL THESE THINGS for God, for the better ordering of our kingdom, and to allay the discord that has arisen between us and our barons, and since we desire that they shall be enjoyed in their entirety, with lasting strength, for ever, we give and grant to the barons the following security:
     The barons shall elect twenty-five of their number to keep, and cause to be observed with all their might, the peace and liberties granted and confirmed to them by this charter.
     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 chiefjustice, 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. Having secured the redress, they may then resume their normal obedience to us.
    Any man who so desires may take an oath to obey the commands of the twenty-five barons for the achievement of these ends, and to join with them in assailing us to the utmost of his power. We give public and free permission to take this oath to any man who so desires, and at no time will we prohibit any man from taking it. Indeed, we will compel any of our subjects who are unwilling to take it to swear it at our command.
    If-one of the twenty-five barons dies or leaves the country, or is prevented in any other way from discharging his duties, the rest of them shall choose another baron in his place, at their discretion, who shall be duly sworn in as they were.
    In the event of disagreement among the twenty-five barons on any matter referred to them for decision, the verdict of the majority present shall have the same validity as a unanimous verdict of the whole twenty-five, whether these were all present or some of those summoned were unwilling or unable to appear.
    The twenty-five barons shall swear to obey all the above articles faithfully, and shall cause them to be obeyed by others to the best of their power.
   We will not seek to procure from anyone, either by our own efforts or those of a third party, anything by which any part of these concessions or liberties might be revoked or diminished.   Should such a thing be procured, it shall be null and void and we will at no time make use of it, either ourselves or through a third party.

Now even though this was signed almost eight hundred years ago in 1215 (As Tom rightly pointed out) at virtual sword point; because the reigning Monarch has sworn at her coronation to uphold the document, it remains valid. As with the Common Law in force before that date.

What I get from article 61 is the following;

  1. Although ‘Parliament is sovereign’ MP’s, their staff, and the Civil Service they direct are effective officers of the Crown, having sworn an oath to the reigning Monarch, and therefore legally bound to uphold the principles enshrined in Magna Carta
  2. If any such officer does not, there are clearly outlined procedures for a private individual to obtain redress, to begin with; taking an oath of allegiance to the committee of Barons.  Funnily enough, if you don’t, then the Crown can ‘compel’ you to. Not that I’ve ever heard of this happening. Nor is it likely.
  3. Taking such a binding oath is apparently not a ‘right’ or ‘entitlement’, but a duty of everyone who doesn’t agree with an English Governments actions in respect of the rest of the document, like ceding powers to a foreign authority

Then I came across this article where a committee of Barons had actually submitted such a petition on 7th February 2001. It seems the complaint was largely ignored, as the Treaty of Nice, and the Treaty of Lisbon were later signed and ratified. Yet according to the provisions of Magna Carta, these treaty signings were not legally valid. Unless of course the document is a complete anachronism, in which case the English Monarch is no longer the Monarch, and therefore all related constitutional bets (Including Government) are off. Because all of their power is devolved from the reigning Monarch. But wait a minute, that would mean… Oh dear.

There appear to be so many paradoxes floating around the current constitutional situation underpinning the UK that it violates the rules of causality. As well as blowing the basic rule of contracts and other formal agreements out of the water. An agreement (or Oath) between ruler and ruled is only an agreement so long as no one violates the terms and conditions, of which Magna Carta forms one. If the terms and conditions are ignored, such as in any contract, any stakeholder can be said to be no longer bound by it. Rather like with a contract of employment; you break the terms and conditions, you get disciplined or fired, or your Boss violates those terms, then you walk and claim ‘constructive dismissal’.

A broken oath cannot be considered valid. No valid oath means no agreement, which means no Monarch or Sovereign, so how can the UK Parliament (Which derives devolved power from the institution of Monarchy) have any sovereignty at all? Or any of the treaties and arrangements it makes any validity? This is the can of worms the ceding of authority to the European Union has opened up, as it is a clear violation of the Monarchs oath of office, as laid out in the basic documents.

From where I stand, the only real rule seems to be “Sed quoniam inquam sic.” (Because I say so). To which the answer is; “Vos quod cuius exercitus.” (You and whose army?) Usually quickly followed by; “Ut exercitus illac.” (That Army over there). Which rather makes a nonsense of the oft repeated claims by politicians about living in a Democracy. In a real democracy, the threat of coercive force would not be an option. However, this is the real world.

I may be wrong, but on the other hand……..

Might as well say “Hang ’em all” and go do my own sweet thing.


8 thoughts on “About this Magna Carter thingy”

  1. Don’t know how this affects things (and since it’s from Wikipedia and I don’t have time to check the references obvious caveats apply) but it seems that nearly all of Magna Carta has long since been repealed by various other Acts, mostly in the 19th century. All that’s apparently left is 1, 9, and 29. If so then relying heavily on something in Magna Carta as existing law rather than whatever replaced that particular clause is probably batting a stick wicket. But I hope it turns out otherwise.


    1. So the clause 61 about redress and switching allegiance is null and void?

      That being said, the Wiki article appears to be missing some relevant citations regarding these repeals it claims occurred with dates and statutes. A repeal or legal amendment requires an act of parliament or written decree, does it not? Those should be on record somewhere.


      1. It lists by clause what was repealed, when and by which Act with the three claimed to be in force still listed as “extant”. Not all have links to other pages but I suppose it’s only a matter of looking the Acts up online and reading through until you find the bit that says it’s replacing whatever bit of MC1225. The citation for the non-validity of “Clause 61” and the claim that it was actually only ever valid for a few months appears to be a twenty year old history book called Magna Carta – I doubt my local library will have a copy 😉 but I guess it could be found in the British Library by someone more local.

        So the clause 61 about redress and switching allegiance is null and void?

        If, if, that is correct then it may have been null and void for nearly eight hundred years – I say “may” because clearly the modern Barons’ committee believe otherwise and I assume they’d be in a better position to judge than me, or at least able to get the advice of someone who is. Bottom line, some say it is and others say it isn’t, and at some stage a court will have to decide. Maybe the arguments of the Barons and their followers will be successful – certainly hope so – and maybe Bucko will turn out to be right and it’ll come down to the state’s monopoly on law and violence winning out whatever the strength of the arguments.

        And maybe the LR folks are right but barking up the wrong legal tree, and the answer lies not in MC1225 but in some other Act. Captain Ranty seems to be using more than one of them and I think that’s probably sensible. Eggs in one basket and all that.


  2. Welcome to the party, in November 2001 a committee of Barons petitioned the Monarch quoting Article 61 to no avail. Her Maj either chose or was told to ignore them. The Law means nothing, may as well just do your own thing, Blogging, protesting, writing to your MP……. Pointless.

    Read Captain Ranty’s blog, loads of information there regarding Lawful Rebellion, maybe a way out, but not in our lifetime.


  3. There seems to be some misunderstanding about what happened on 23rd May 2011. Baron Mereworth succeeded on the issue set out in his claim form and the Judge stated in open court that he was successful on that issue. It is the most important issue. Sometimes, justice comes one step at a time and sometimes one has to navigate through certain mind-set and obstacles. In this case, it has to be emphasised that Baron Mereworth has started well.
    Details: http://www.kensingtongalleries.co.uk/Justice4All.html


      1. It is true that the court did not award him his costs but it is equally true that the court does get things wrong from time time. This is why people appeal decisions. The very nature of appeal is to put things right. Without wrong decisions, there will not be Courts of appeal including the Supreme Court. Determined litigants have had to travel all the way to the European Court of Human Rights to prove that national courts of appeal did not give them a fair trial. The case law is filled with cases overturned by the Supreme Court because the courts below got it wrong. But it is very important that the public are made aware that Baron Mereworth was successful but denied his costs. The Ministry of Justice (Crown Office) and the government would want the public to believe that Baron Mereworth lost because he was not awarded his costs but Baron Mereworth did not lose and he has a right to apply for permission to appeal the cost order. That is the system of our law. His case is about justice not politics. http://www.kensingtongalleries.co.uk/Justice4All.html


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