Documents to download

This Note has not been written in preparation for a specific debate in the House of Lords, but is offered as a short guide for Members on a topic of general interest. In 2015, it will be 800 years since the Magna Carta, or ‘Great Charter’, is thought to have been sealed by King John on 15 June 1215. This Note will consider the background to the introduction of the Magna Carta, providing a summary of some of the factors that historians have identified as important in bringing the Charter into existence. It will look at the provisions of the original document and how these were amended in subsequent reissues; provide a brief account of the later history of the document; and consider the influence the Magna Carta has had in the 800 years since its creation.

Documents to download

Related posts

  • Hereditary by-elections: Results

    Hereditary peer by-elections are held within the House of Lords to replace excepted hereditary peers who have retired or died. This Lords Library briefing provides a list of hereditary peers’ by-election results since the passing of the House of Lords Act 1999, including information on turn out and the number of candidates.

    Hereditary by-elections: Results
  • Customs and traditions: The mace

    The mace is a staff of office symbolising the authority of the sovereign in Parliament. A mace is carried to the Lords and the Commons chambers in a procession at the beginning and end of each sitting day. In the Lords, it rests on the woolsack behind the lord speaker during proceedings. As is the case in the Commons, the Lords may not conduct business in the chamber whilst it is not present. But where did this custom and tradition come from and are maces found in other parliaments?

    Customs and traditions: The mace
  • Ministers in the House of Lords: Role and accountability to Parliament

    Ministers are needed in the House of Lords to take legislation through the House and answer for the government during questions and debates. Some cabinet ministers are appointed from the Lords. For example, the current foreign secretary is Lord Cameron of Chipping Norton. The leader of the House of Lords is always a member of the Lords. This briefing looks at the role of ministers in the House of Lords and how they are scrutinised.

    Ministers in the House of Lords: Role and accountability to Parliament