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Chief Justice Speaks on Civil Liberties

For Release Upon Receipt - Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Chief Justice of Barbados Sir Marston Gibson will speak about some current rights and liberties as they relate to the Magna Carta when he delivers a lecture at the Cave Hill Campus Law Lecture Theatre on Friday, 20th February 2015, starting at 7 p.m.

The lecture is a part of a project entitled “The Impact and Influence of Magna Carta on the Commonwealth Caribbean” which is being led by Dr. Hamid Ghany, Senior Lecturer in Political Science and Coordinator of the Constitutional Affairs and Parliamentary Studies Unit (CAPSU) at the UWI.

The ‘Magna Carta’ was one of the first documents imposed upon the King of England by a group of his subjects in an attempt to limit his powers by law and protect their rights. The charter is widely known throughout the English-speaking world as an important part of the protracted historical process that led to the rule of constitutional law in England and beyond. Though modified through the ages as the franchise was extended, it essentially limited the power of authoritarian rule, and the “divine right of kings,” while paving the way for legal processes such as trial by jury.

Coordinator Dr. Ghany noted that “while Magna Carta may represent something that is eight hundred years old. In understanding the foundation of the legal and constitutional principles of English Common Law, an appreciation of this document will deepen that understanding in a manner not previously articulated.”

He added that raising the overall level of awareness and consciousness is important in helping persons to appreciate the clear connection between the magna carta and the origins of many current legal philosophies such as power sharing and ‘habeus corpus’. “It may have been something very elitist between the King and his barons but the by-product of many of these issues surviving over a period of time and being infused into our constitutions and human rights situations in the Commonwealth Caribbean today demonstrate a connection that is useful for us to understand.”

The distinguished lecture is one of many in a series of workshops and seminars held across the Caribbean and the overall project will culminate in the publication of a book on the impact and influence of the Magna Carta on the Commonwealth Caribbean as well as the infusion of content into UWI postgraduate courses on Political Theory.

“This project will not just be an academic and historical exercise, but will also, through contributions by distinguished scholars, legal historians and political leaders across the Caribbean, be another opportunity to commemorate the individual rights we enjoy today and to strengthen human rights around the world” Ghany stated.


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