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Featuring Black’s Law Dictionary Free Online Legal Dictionary 2nd Ed.


The great charter. The uame of a charter (or constitutional en- actment) granted by King John of England to the barons, at Runnyruede, on June 15, 1215, and afterwards, with some alterations, confirmed in parliament by Henry III. and Edward I. This charter is justly regarded as the foundation of English constitutional lib- erty. Among its thirty-eight chapters are found provisions for regulating the adminis- tration of justice, defining the temporal and ecclesiastical jurisdictions, securing the per- sonal liberty of the subject and his rights of proi>erty, and the limits of taxation, and for preserving the liberties and privileges of the church. Magna Charta is so called, partly to distinguish it from the Charta dc Foresta. which was granted about the same time, and partly by reason of its own transcendent importance.Magna Charta et Charta de Foresta sont appeles les “deux grandes charters.” 2 Inst. 570. Magna Charta and the Charter of the Forest are called the “two great charters.”

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