The Right Hon. Lord Dyson, Master of the Rolls Speech at Magna Carta, Religion and The Rule of Law at Temple London on Saturday 7 June 2014.
“As a nation, we love commemorations and we are rather good at them. We celebrate them with efficiency and, where appropriate, panache and even pomp. We love commemorating historical events, whether they are momentous or of a rather more specialist and limited interest.
On any view, the sealing of the Magna Carta in 1215 was a momentous historical event which changed the history of this country and has affected the lives of millions of people across the world. You have heard a good deal about this from our speakers during the course of this splendid day. It was inevitable that the Magna Carta Trust would wish to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta. And many others are joining in both here and abroad. There will, for example, be major celebrations next year in the US. Today’s event has been a tasty hors d’oeuvre for the feast that is to come next year.
Why has Magna Carta generated such excitement? Many of its 63 clauses are rather technical and of no relevance to us today and have had little, if any, impact on succeeding generations, although they are no doubt of great interest to the medieval historian.”