05 July 2018

BOOK: Catharine MacMillan and Charlotte Smith, eds., Challenges to Authority and the Recognition of Rights : From Magna Carta to Modernity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018). ISBN 9781108429238, £ 95.00

Later this month, Cambridge University Press will publish a book on “challenges to authority” in history, focusing on the Magna Charta.


While challenges to authority are generally perceived as destructive to legal order, this original collection of essays, with Magna Carta at its heart, questions this assumption. In a series of chapters concerned with different forms of challenges to legal authority - over time, geographical place, and subject matters both public and private - this volume demonstrates that challenges to authority which seek the recognition of rights actually change the existing legal order rather than destroying it. The chapters further explore how the myth of Magna Carta emerged and its role in the pre-modern world; how challenges to authority formed the basis of the recognition of rights in particular areas within England; and how challenges to authority resulted in the recognition of particular rights in the United States, Canada, Australia and Germany. This is a uniquely insightful thematic collection which proposes a new view into the processes of legal change.


Catharine MacMillanKing's College London
Catharine MacMillan is Professor of Private Law at the Dickson Poon School of Law, King's College London.
Charlotte SmithUniversity of Reading
Charlotte Smith is Associate Professor in Law at the University of Reading.


Introduction Catharine MacMillan
Part I. Magna Carta, Challenges to Authority and the Recognition of Rights in England:
1. Magna Carta: the emergence of the myth John Baker
2. Benefit of clergy and the authority of Magna Carta Margaret McGlynn
3. How to get rid of a king: lawyering the Revolution of 1399 David Seipp
4. Magna Carta and the fragmented authorities of the later Middle Ages Anthony Musson
5. Revolution principles and the revolution bench Mike Macnair
Part II. Broader Challenges to Authority and the Recognition of Rights in England:
6. Magna Carta Clauses 4 and 5 and the problem of account Joshua Getzler
7. Some effects of war on the law in late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century England James Oldham
8. Tax, freedom and social expectations: fiscal impact on the built environment in nineteenth-century England Chantal Stebbings
Part III. Magna Carta, Challenges to Authority and the Recognition (and Rejection) of Rights beyond England:
9. The Magna Carta in the German discourse about English constitutional law between the eighteenth and the early twentieth century Andreas Thier
10. A Magna Carta for the world? The constitutional protection of foreign subjects in the age of revolution Daniel Hulsebosch
11. 'The state of slavery': the slave, grace, and the rise of pro-slavery constitutionalism in the nineteenth-century Atlantic world Patricia Hagler Minter
12. The Royal Proclamation of 1763: an indigenous Magna Carta's rough ride in British Columbia Hamar Foster
13. 'Law: challenges to authority and the recognition of rights': examples from British India Raymond Cocks
14. 'Unfortunate necessities of warfare?': Australia's national security regulations and the right to free speech during World War I Diane Kirkby.

More information to be found here

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