Papers from the Magna Carta Symposium from May are now all available to download.

Download the papers by clicking the presenters name.

Professor Nicholas Cowdery AM QC spoke about the relevance of the Magna Carta in shaping our understandings of the rule of law, separation of powers, democracy, the presumption of innocence, and the concept of no taxation without representation.

Professor John Hirst’s paper delved into the legacy of British Rights and Liberties in Australia from the very beginning of European settlement to the goldfields and the Communist Party Case. His paper argued that historians have often overlooked the strength of commitment to British rights in Australia.

Dr Rosemary Laing told the story of Australian Parliament House’s copy of the 1297 Magna Carta, which was purchased by the Menzies Government in 1952.

Professor David Clark spoke about the mythology of the Magna Carta in the legal sphere, and how it has been misappropriated and used in legal argument in Australia from 1805 to 2015.

Dr Andrew Tink provided an interesting account of the early days of the First Fleet in Sydney centring on the story of Cable v Sinclair, the first civil case in NSW where a convict successfully sued a convict transport captain for lost luggage. Dr Tink made the point that some of the principles of the rule of law which we value today developed quicker in the colonies – he said it would have been unlikely for a convict to have been able to bring a civil action of this kind back in England – such was the early colony’s commitment to the rule of law!