The Magna Carta Is The Cornerstone Of The Individual Liberties Essay

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The Magna Carta is among those historical texts that are frequently cited, rarely read, and even more rarely understood. I came across it for the first time at Law school, where it was taught as “a historic text of immeasurable constitutional importance”. I conscientiously wrote this down – we didn’t have laptops in those days - and then quickly forgot it. I forgot it because I never understood the real significance of the document until recently.

The Magna Carta is the cornerstone of the individual liberties that we enjoy. It provides the foundation for how we live, through equality under the rule of law and through accountability. Almost by accident, the Magna Carta started a process of human rights recognition of which we are all beneficiaries today. It is with some irony that one of the most unpopular kings in English history bequeathed such an important humanitarian legacy.

This paper examines migration and asylum law and practice through the eyes of the Magna Carta. It considers whether New Zealand currently fulfils the legacy of the Magna Carta and highlights areas where change may be required.

Historical musings
When King John agreed to Magna Carta at Runnymede on 15 June 1215, he had no intention of honouring the agreement. A battle-hungry monarch accustomed to doing exactly as he pleased, the idea of submitting himself to a common set of rules was both absurd and unreasonable. He swiftly had it annulled, and the country erupted into civil war. A year later, with

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