Much Ado About Magna Carta, Part 2

It's been hailed as the cornerstone of our justice system. From property rights to women's rights, the rule of law, equality before the law and defined roles for judges: all roads, it seems, lead us back to Magna Carta Libertatum. But is this entirely true?
(Lisa Sakulensky)
Listen to the full episode53:59

It's been hailed as the cornerstone of our justice system. From property rights to women's rights, the rule of law, equality before the law and defined roles for judges: all roads, it seems, lead us back to Magna Carta Libertatum. But is this entirely true?  To mark the 800th anniversary of this great charter of liberty, IDEAS in partnership with the MUNK School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto presents dynamic legal minds and scholars, along with our very own Magna Carta Chorus, to reveal the meaning – and relevance – of the charter today.

**This episode originally aired June 16, 2015

Much Ado About Magna Carta, Part 1 - Original airdate Monday, June 15, 2015
One of the remaining Magna Carta manuscripts from 1215. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
David Cole, from Georgetown University Law Centre, legal scholar, author and commentator, Nathalie Des Rosiers, Dean, Faculty of Law (Common Law Section) at the University of Ottawa, Bob Rae, lawyer, mediator and political leader, and moderator Stephen Toope, Director of the Munk School of Global Affairs, probe property rights and the rule of law to see how they play out today, legally and politically. 

Much Ado About Magna Carta, Part 2 - Original airdate Tuesday, June 16, 2015   
David Cole
, legal scholar, author and commentator, Nathalie Des Rosiers, Dean, Faculty of  Law (Common Law Section) at the University of Ottawa;  the Honourable Stephen T. Goudge, Q.C., former judge of the Ontario Court of Appeal, and moderator Stephen Toope, Director of the Munk School of Global Affairs  consider  the  lingering influences (or not) of  the Magna Carta on criminal law and the role of judges. 

Participants in the program


David Cole is the Hon. George J. Mitchell Professor in Law and Public Policy at Georgetown University Law Center, where he teaches constitutional law, national security, and criminal justice.  He is also the legal affairs correspondent for The Nation, and a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books, and the author of several award-winning books, including Enemy Aliens: Double Standards and Constitutional Freedoms in the War on Terrorism, which received the American Book Award in 2004.   He has litigated many significant constitutional cases in the Supreme Court, including cases establishing that Americans have a constitutional right to burn the American flag.  The late New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis called David "one of the country's great legal voices for civil liberties today."

Nathalie Des Rosiers is Dean, Faculty of Law, Common Law Section at the University of Ottawa. She has served as the General Counsel for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association from 2009 to 2013.  Prior to her appointment to the CCLA, Professor Des Rosiers was Dean of the Civil Law Section, University of Ottawa (2004-2008), President of the Law Commission of Canada (2000-2004).  She has been in private practice in Montreal and London, Ont. She has received the Order of Canada in 2013, the Order of Ontario in 2012, an Honorary Doctorate from the UCL (Université  catholique de Louvain) in Belgium in 2012, an Honorary Doctorate from the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Medal from the Law Society of Upper Canada, the NUPGE Award, the APEX Partnership Award and was named one of Canada's 25 most influential lawyers in both 2011 and 2012.

The Honourable Stephen T. Goudge: Hons. B.A., University of Toronto, 1964. M.Sc. (Econ.), London School of Economics, 1965. LL.B. (Awarded Dean's Key), University of Toronto, 1968. Articled to the Hon. Ian G. Scott, Q.C. Called to the Bar of Ontario in 1970. Appointed Queen's Counsel in 1982. Practiced with Cameron Brewin and Scott until it merged with Gowling and Henderson in 1983. Appeared before many administrative tribunals and Courts at all levels in Ontario and the Supreme Court of Canada. Lecturer, University of Toronto Faculty of Law in Labour Law. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. Appointed to the Court of Appeal for Ontario in 1996. Appointed on April 25, 2007 by Ontario to conduct the Inquiry into Pediatric Forensic Pathology, which reported on October 1, 2008.  Resigned from the judiciary April 30, 2014. Counsel to Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP as of May 1, 2014.


Professor Stephen J. Toope is Director of the Munk School of Global Affairs. Before joining the Munk School in January 2015, Professor Toope was President of the University of British Columbia from 2006 to 2014. He represented Western Europe and North America on the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances from 2002-2007. He continues to conduct research on many aspects of international law and is currently working on issues of continuity and change in international law, and the origins of international obligation in international society. Before joining UBC, Toope was President of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, and Dean of Law at McGill. A Canadian citizen, Professor Toope earned his PhD from Trinity College, Cambridge, his degrees in common law (LLB) and civil law (BCL) with honours from McGill University, and graduated magna cum laude with his AB in History and Literature from Harvard University.

The Magna Carta Chorus

Barry MacGregor has been acting since 1949. He has appeared on stages in Britain, Europe, the United States and Canada. He was a long-time member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Stratford Festival and the Shaw Festival. He's also performed in many radio and television programs, including IDEAS on CBC Radio One.

Sharry Flett has acted in theatres across Canada and played leading roles at the Stratford Festival (4 seasons) and the Shaw Festival (26 seasons). She was twice nominated for Gemini Awards as Best Actress (CBC TV Drama). She's also taught acting at the Shaw Festival, George Brown Theatre School, University of Toronto, Queen's University, and the National Theatre School in Montreal.




Suggested Reading List:

David Cole:
Jill Lepore, The Rule of History: Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, and the hold of time, The New Yorker, April 20, 2015. 

Bryan Stevenson,  Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption,  Spiegel & Grau, 2014.

David Cole and Jules Lobel, Less Safe, Less Free: Why America Is Losing the War on Terror, The New Press, 2009.

Nathalie Des Rosiers:
John Borrows, Questioning Canada's Title to Land: The Rule of Law, Aboriginal Peoples and Colonialism in Law Commission of Canada, Speaking Truth to Power - A Treaty Forum. Available on the website of the B.C. Treaty Commission

Marian Botsford Fraser, Acting for Freedom - 50 years of Civil Liberties in Canada, Second Story Press, 2014.

Henry Elliot Malden, Ed., Magna Carta Commemoration Essays (1917), The Royal Historical 

Helena Florence Normanton, Magna Carta and Women, (1915) Women's Freedom League.

Margaret Beare, Nathalie Des Rosiers and Abirgail C. Deshman, Putting the State on Trial. UBC Press, 2015.

The Honourable Stephen T. Goudge:
Tom Bingham, The Rule of Law,  Penguin,  2011

The Magna Carta, 1215  (the English translation, British Library)

The Right Honourable Lady Justice Arden D.B.E., Magna Carta and the Judges – Realising the Vision, The Magna Carta Lecture Series at Royal Holloway University of London, June 2011  

Magna Carta Canada 2015 Tour

An original copy of Magna Carta is touring Canada until  December 29th, 2015. 
Magna Carta: Law, Liberty and Legacy opened on Friday, June 12th at the Canadian Museum of History in Ottawa/Gatineau.

The exhibition will also be stopping in Winnipeg, Toronto and Edmonton.

August 15, 2015 to September 18, 2015:  Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Winnipeg
October 4, 2015 to November 7, 2015:  Fort York National Historic Site, Toronto
November 23, 2015 to December 29, 2015:  Legislative Assembly of Alberta Visitor Centre, Edmonton

For more information, please visit the Magna Carta Canada website.

The Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto​ ​brings together the best minds to advance the latest thinking on global issues. Its mission is to integrate research on global affairs with teaching and public education.


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