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  • Print publication year: 2015
  • Online publication date: May 2015

Preface and acknowledgments


On a glorious sunny Saturday in June 2014, we had the pleasure of convening a conference in the Temple, the beating heart of legal London, under the title ‘Magna Carta, Religion and the Rule of Law’, focusing on the powerful narratives – then and now – of faith and governance. We had in mind a modest gathering, and thus we were delighted that in excess of 200 people chose to attend. In his keynote address (which is reproduced herein as Chapter 2) Lord Judge, not one for overstatement, remarked:

Today's conference, Magna Carta, Religion and the Rule of Law, has brought together an extraordinary array of talent and expertise. I doubt whether any of them yriads of occasions from now on for the next two years, where Magna Carta will be discussed and dissected and analysed, will be equalled by a group of scholars of the international reputation and distinction which has been assembled here today.

The speakers did not disappoint. And thanks to Cambridge University Press their scholarship, insight and analysis will now reach a larger global audience. Their papers are supplemented in this volume by complementary chapters which we commissioned from others who were unable to be present at the conference but whose scholarship was of equal calibre to the speakers’. We are indebted to all the contributors for complying with an unusually strict and robustly enforced timetable, mindful of the looming deadline in the form of the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta.

In addition, we must record our thanks to those who shared with us the responsibility for moderating the sessions: Stephen Hockman QC and Sir Konrad Schiemann; and to two discussants who led an informal workshop on the morning after the conference: Sir John Laws and Professor David Kirkham. Fittingly, the conference concluded with Choral Mattins in the Temple Church at which the preacher was Canon Professor Nicholas Sagovsky. Inspired by the spirit of Pentecost, his sermon explored the covenantal nature of Magna Carta, and we have drawn on his reflections in our jointly authored opening chapter.