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Habeas Corpus and slavery

Duration: 05:56

The story of the use of habeas corpus to prevent the transportation of a slave James Somerset out of the country in 1771. It was used as a case by abolitionist Granville Sharp to challenge the legality of slavery. Arthur Torrington, a slavery historian, explains the story of James Somerset. The case was passed to the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Mansfield. Both abolitionists and slave traders were well represented. Somerset was freed and the significance of the judgement of Lord Mansfield was that it marked the start of freedom for all the slaves in England.

Available since: Wed 13 Mar 2013

This clip is from

The Strange Case of the Law

Barrister Harry Potter looks at the history of English justice.

First broadcast: 14 Mar 2013

Image for The Strange Case of the Law Not currently available on BBC iPlayer

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