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Marshall-Wythe School of Law, College of William and Mary




What did English lawyers know about Magna Carta in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries? How did they talk about it? Did they regard the king as above the law or subordinate to it? What did they make of the guarantees that we now think were most important in Magna Carta, the guarantee of judgment of peers or the law of the land, and of speedy justice? The evidence of the Year Books is that Magna Carta was treated as a minor statute, that the king was or ought to be above the law in many respects, and that trial by jury was a risk to be avoided, if possible, because juries could be so easily intimidated.



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