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Hmm, well, yes

Magna Carta isn’t actually the law of England (and Wales):

A group of about 20 protesters entered Edinburgh Castle on Tuesday evening, claiming to have “seized” the landmark under article 61 of Magna Carta.

Members of the public were evacuated as the demonstrators entered the grounds of the castle without a ticket. Police Scotland said that officers were dealing with the protest.

Reports emerged at about 5.45pm of an incident close to the entrance to the Museum of The Royal Regiment for Scotland.

The protesters filmed their protest on Facebook Live. In a 13-minute video, a woman says the castle “belongs to the people” and that they are “taking our power back”. She adds the Scottish people have been “lied to all our lives” and that the “building belongs to us, we have taken the castle back” in an effort to “restore the rule of law”.

Further, Scotland has its own legal system. And it wasn’t the same country as England and Wales when Magna Carta was signed. Sure, it isn’t now but it definitely wasn’t then.

So I think we’ll put this legal gambit down as a hiding to nothing, shall we?

15 thoughts on “Hmm, well, yes”

  1. As Tractor Gent says this is cluelessness rather than a genuine legal ploy. I doubt whether even Jolyon Maugham would have the chutzpah to try it in court. One day I fully expect some halfwit to claim veganism should be mandatory under the Treaty of Westphalia.

  2. MC, seizing a royal castle is the proper action under Article 61, but there is a process you have to go through first:

    “ If we, our chief justice, our officials, or any of our servants offend in any respect against any man, or transgress any of the articles of the peace or of this security, and the offence is made known to four of the said twenty-five barons, they shall come to us – or in our absence from the kingdom to the chief justice – to declare it and claim immediate redress. If we, or in our absence abroad the chief justice, make no redress within forty days, reckoning from the day on which the offence was declared to us or to him, the four barons shall refer the matter to the rest of the twenty-five barons, who may distrain upon and assail us in every way possible, with the support of the whole community of the land, by seizing our castles, lands, possessions, or anything else saving only our own person and those of the queen and our children, until they have secured such redress as they have determined upon. Having secured the redress, they may then resume their normal obedience to us. Any man who so desires may take an oath to obey the commands of the twenty-five barons for the achievement of these ends, and to join with them in assailing us to the utmost of his power.”

  3. The great merit of “Magna Carta” is that it’s one of the few bits of Latin that English people can pronounce without making the rest of Europe shudder.

    Anyhoo, it was a grand thing in its day and place.

  4. What did they intend doing with the castle once they had seized it? I guess it would make a cracking Airbnb for the septic trade.

  5. The great merit of “Magna Carta” is that it’s one of the few bits of Latin that English people can pronounce without making the rest of Europe shudder.

    Sounds like a demerit. Shakespeare wrote Julius Caesar not Yulius Kaiser.

  6. No problem with them trying to wrangle a legal principle that old.. Provided, of course, the protesters accept that the reaction to it is in kind..

    So when can we see their heads on spikes in front of the castle gate?
    After all, that was the fate of uppity commoners back then..

  7. Though no one seems to ask in what sense it’s great, as in really good idea or there was a lesser charter (bit like the meaning of Great in Grest Britain).
    Arguably the Charter of the Forest had as much of not more impact than the Magna Carta

  8. Yes but that seems to surprises most people I’ve told who thinks it’s a boastful claim relating to Empire days if pushed

  9. Brittany is sorta true. But really:


    Britain is England plus Wales.

    Great Britain is Britain plus Scotland.

    Great Britain and Ireland.

    British Isles

  10. BniC said:
    “Though no one seems to ask in what sense it’s great”

    Big, not great. It was simply longer then the Charter of the Forest (which, as you say, had more impact, certainly on the common man, at the time).

    (The Charter of the Forest was a bit later, but Magna Carta wasn’t so named until after, when it became necessary to distinguish them)

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