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Author Topic: MAGNA CARTA  (Read 1253 times)
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« on: December 06, 2007, 08:23:18 pm »

Edward Coke’s opinions

Jurist Edward Coke interpreted Magna Carta to apply not only to the protection of nobles but to all subjects of the crown equally. He famously asserted:

"Magna Carta is such a fellow, that he will have no sovereign."

One of the first respected jurists to write seriously about the great charter was Edward Coke, who had a great deal to say on the subject and was influential in the way Magna Carta was perceived throughout the Tudor and Stuart periods, although his opinions changed across time and his writing in the Stuart period was more influential. In the Elizabethan period, Coke wrote of Parliament evolving alongside the monarchy and not existing by any allowance on the part of the monarch. However he was still fiercely loyal to Elizabeth, and the monarchy still judged the Charter in the same light it always had: an evil document forced out of their forefathers by brute force. He therefore prevented a re-affirmation of the charter from passing the House, and although he spoke highly of the charter, he did not speak out against imprisonments without due process. This came back to haunt him later when he moved for a reaffirmation of the charter.

Coke was not alone in his confused opinions about the charter among the people in that era. The Petition of Right in 1628 was meant as a reaffirmation of the charter but was defeated by the Attorney General (Robert Heath). He stated that the petition claimed it was a mere codification of existing law stemming from Magna Carta, but, he claimed, there was no precedent shown as to these laws existing in such as a way as they bound the present king; there was a definite feeling that the king could not be bound by law and therefore Clause 39 and all others did not apply to him. The charter was seen as important as a statement as to the antiquity of Parliament, that it was pre-Norman, and not because it was the catalyst to the genesis of Parliament. Again, certain modern critics dispute this latter point. The Charter was seen in part as entrenched law by Coke's opinion and no one would dare deny it, but it was not seen as binding on the king.

Such suggestions were impermissible until the Stuart period.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2007, 08:25:27 pm by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

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