CFP : "800th Anniversary of Magna Carta"

Call for Papers

800th Anniversary of Magna Carta
Conference at the University of Amiens
7-9 December 2015

2015 marks the 800th Anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta by King John at Runnymede. It was imposed upon the King of England by his Norman Barons and has, over the years, proved to be the benchmark for what are now recognised as the “human rights” of a civilised society and its provisions have been adopted by many countries. In 3500 words of medieval latin and 63 articles of legal charter, Magna Carta is a programme for the reform of the English government. It was reissued in 1216, 1217 and 1225 to promise good government in the future to subjects protesting against bad government.

Magna Carta is one of the world’s most defining and influencial legal documents which governs the relations between successive monarchs and their most powerful subjects. It is held as a symbol of the freedom of the individual and it enshrines the individual’s right of access to due process of law. It has limited the power of authoritarian rule and has paved the way for democracy. It prohibits arbitrary arrest, introduces the accountability of the State to his subjects and the obligation of government to strive after efficiency for the public good. It established the principles of the consent of the kingdom for the levying of taxation, which is a key function of Parliament. It also embodies the right to freedom of speech and expression.

Magna Carta has influenced constitutional thinking throughout the world and its direct impact can be felt in the Constitution of the United States of America and in the « Four Freedoms » of the Atlantic Charter of 1941. In 1965, the British judge Lord Denning described Magna Carta as « the greatest constitutional document of all times – the foundation of freedom of the individual against arbitrary authority of the despot ».

What was the genesis of the Magna Carta ? Which part did it play in the constitutional struggles of the Middle Ages ?
What was the influence of Magna Carta on France in the fourteenth century ?
What was the part of Magna Carta on the debates that led to the American Revolution of the 1770s and the French Revolution ?
Why did Magna Carta remain central to constitutional debates in England, in America and across the British Empire ? What was the influence of Magna Carta on Constitutions throughout the world and especially in the United States ? How did it influence the writing of the French constitutional charter of 1814 ?
How was Magna Carta used in India, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa by the representatives of native peoples determined to share in the freedoms claimed by their colonial oppressors ?
What has Magna Carta bequeathed to modern English law ?
What is the relevance of Magna Carta for our Human and Civil Rights today ?

All these questions will be answered at the conference in Amiens.
Please contact Professor Pierre Sicard : or Dr Sophie Loussouarn :