Magna Carta Chapter House

Magna Carta is over 800 years old it is still today a powerful symbol of social justice. Many of its clauses are no longer relevant to modern life but the concept of a document proclaiming the freedoms and rights of individuals under the rule of law has been adopted across the globe. Magna Carta established the right of trial by jury and ensured that no one, including the king, was above the law.

Throughout history Magna Carta has inspired human rights legislation including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations in 1948. Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) the chairman of the committee drafting the Declaration said that they hoped the Universal Declaration would become ‘the international Magna Carta of all men everywhere.’ Magna Carta has also been an important symbol representing women’s rights, particularly the right of women to vote.

Magna Carta holds a particularly prominent place in the history of the United States where its concepts of equality under the law is enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the US Bill of Rights.

In more recent years Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the internet, has called for a “Magna Carta for the web” to protect the independence of the internet and the rights and privacy of users worldwide.


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