UM Magna Carta display celebrates 800 years of legal history

Oct 6, 2014

An image of the Magna Carta
Credit Flickr - James Joel

This is an important time of year for the legal profession. Both the U-S and Michigan Supreme Courts begin hearing oral arguments this week. The American judicial system traces its roots back to English common law. And now, an iconic symbol of our legal heritage has come to Ann Arbor for public display.

In 1215, King John of England signed the Magna Carta. It was a declaration by the English noblemen of their rights, and it set limits to the king’s authority. It also established the practice of due process, which is so key to a democratic society. The Magna Carta later became the  template for the U-S Constitution.

The University of Michigan School of Law is displaying images of the Magna Carta through October 23. Current State’s Kevin Lavery talks with Dr. Paul Brand, a law professor at the University of Michigan and an Englishman who once taught at Oxford.