The rule of law

Detail from Magna Carta - Claudius (D ii f116)

Magna Carta

In 1215, King John of England approved a document acknowledging laws, rights and freedoms which eventually became an icon for liberty throughout the world

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Laws of Forests

Laws of Forests

The Charter of the Forest, issued with the revised Magna Carta by Henry III in 1217, re-established rights of access to the forest for free men that had been eroded by a succession of kings. Many of its provisions were in force for centuries afterwards

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Laws of Hywel Dda

Laws of Hywel Dda

This illustrated 13th-century manuscript contains the system of native Welsh law in operation from the mid-900s to 1284, when the Statute of Rhuddlan brought Wales under English control. Some of the laws regarding women's rights seem quite liberal for their time

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Habeas Corpus

Habeas Corpus Act

First hinted at in Magna Carta, but not secured in mainstream law until this act of 1679 (which remains in force today), habeas corpus has been an enduring part of British liberty, despite governments occasionally trying to disable it

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Ayr Manuscript

Ayr Manuscript

Dating back to the reign of Robert Bruce, this manuscript incorporates some of the earliest surviving Scottish laws

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The Second Part of the Institutes of the Lawes of England

Coke: Second part of lawes

In 1628 legal pioneer Sir Edward Coke laid the foundations of the English legal system, including what was effectively an updated Magna Carta, in his three-part Institutes of the Lawes. This is a 1681 publication of the second part, which includes notes on Magna Carta

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Black Dwarf

Black Dwarf

The innovative and influential radical paper's response to the suspension of Habeas Corpus (among other repressive measures) in 1817: an advert showing a coffin with 'H.C.' on it

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