Magna Carta unpicked
- 28 September 2012
- From the section Magazine
Only three of the 63 clauses in the Magna Carta are still in law. One defends the freedom and rights of the English Church, another relates to the privileges enjoyed by the City of London and the third - the most famous - is generally held to have etablished the right to trial by jury.
Below are the full translations of the relevant clauses from the 1215 copy of the Magna Carta held at the British Library.
1. Clause 1: The liberties of the English Church
"First, that we have granted to God, and by this present charter have confirmed for us and our heirs in perpetuity, that the English Church shall be free, and shall have its rights undiminished, and its liberties unimpaired.
"That we wish this so to be observed, appears from the fact that of our own free will, before the outbreak of the present dispute between us and our barons, we granted and confirmed by charter the freedom of the Church's elections - a right reckoned to be of the greatest necessity and importance to it - and caused this to be confirmed by Pope Innocent III. This freedom we shall observe ourselves, and desire to be observed in good faith by our heirs in perpetuity.
"To all free men of our Kingdom we have also granted, for us and our heirs for ever, all the liberties written out below, to have and to keep for them and their heirs, of us and our heirs."
2. Clause 13: The privileges of the City of London
"The city of London shall enjoy all its ancient liberties and free customs, both by land and by water. We also will and grant that all other cities, boroughs, towns, and ports shall enjoy all their liberties and free customs."
3. Clauses 39 & 40: The right to trial by jury
"No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land.
"To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice. No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled . nor will we proceed with force against him . except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land. "