Author Archive

Denis Galligan

Denis Galligan is Professor of Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Oxford, and Director of Programmes of the Foundation for Law, Justice and Society.

That in 2015, we still commemorate an agreement between the king and the barons of England reached 800 years ago, probably on the 15th June 1215, is a cause for wonder. Magna Carta, the Great Charter, as that agreement has come to be known, is held to be a milestone in the course of western constitutional thought. Its place in English jurisprudence is secure, but, while prominent, hardly matches the reverence it is shown on the other side of the Atlantic. Among the range of subjects covered by Magna Carta, three stand out for their constitutional importance: liberty, the rule of law and due process in the administration of justice, and taxation. On liberty: Chapters 39 is most famous in protecting liberty from arbitrary arrest and related …