History GCSE: John Lilburne and Habeas Corpus

Lawyer Harry Potter discusses how habeus corpus works in practice and how it was used by John Lilburne.

Lilburne’s opposition to the policies of Oliver Cromwell’s regime led to his trial for sedition under Parliament’s new treason law in 1649.

His skillful self defence led to him being declared not guilty.

Oliver Cromwell bypassed habeus corpus by having Lilburne imprisoned in Jersey outside the jurisdiction of English law.

Parallels are made with Guantanamo Bay.

Harry Potter discusses Lilburne’s imprisonment at Mont Oreguiel with curator Doug Ford.

This short film is from the BBC series, The Strange Case of the Law.

Teacher Notes

Students could identify key words while watching this short film.

They could discuss why governments use prisons like Mont Oreguiel and Guantanamo Bay. Is there any justification for their use?

Curriculum Notes

This short film will be relevant for teaching GCSE history and social studies. This topic appears in OCR, AQA, Edexcel, WJEC KS4/GCSE in England and Wales, CCEA GCSE in Northern Ireland and SQA National 4/5 in Scotland.

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