Mr. Speaker, I rise to commemorate the Magna Carta, first issued and signed by King John on June 15, 1215, in a meadow in Runnymede, England.
British jurist Lord Denning called the Magna Carta, “the greatest constitutional document of all time – the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot”.
The Magna Carta laid the foundations for many rights and freedoms. Clause 39 guaranteed key legal rights like due process in trials. It guaranteed the right not to be deprived of property, except by due process. Clause 9 guaranteed certain commercial rights and the rights of guilds. Clause 1 guaranteed the right of the church not to be interfered with by the state. The Magna Carta made the monarch accountable to a council in fulfilling commitments.
Eight hundred years ago, the Magna Carta made the Crown subject to the rule of law. No one was above the law, including the Crown.