With irritating frequency people post crap on Facebook about Article 61 of Magna Carta and “lawful rebellion”, claiming to be able to legally avoid paying taxes and operate outside the law as long as they write to the Queen to pledge their allegiance and tell her they’re lawfully rebelling against the government.
The fundamental flaw in this lawful rebellion nonsense isn’t that the fascist state will deny people their constitutional right to rebel it’s that such a right doesn’t exist and hasn’t existed since 1297, if ever.
To understand why this lawful rebellion rubbish is … well, rubbish … you need some background. There have been four different versions of Magna Carta, each one being replaced by the next until the 1225 version was reaffirmed by decree of Edward I. There was an Article 61 in the original version of Magna Carta that was issued in 1215 but by the time Magna Carta was reissued in 1216 Article 61 had been removed. It lasted less than 12 months. Magna Carta didn’t actually end up on the statute roll until it was reaffirmed in 1297.
The lawful rebellion cranks come up with a variety of reasons why Article 61 should still be in force but they’re nonsense. A common claim is that parliament can’t repeal Magna Carta because it’s part of the Common Law. Parliament is sovereign, it can and does repeal or amend whatever it chooses whether it’s part of the Common Law or not. The universal right to trial by jury has been abolished and Habeas Corpus has been suspended by Act of Parliament several times. Whether it is considered to be part of the Common Law or not, Magna Carta became a statute in 1297 when it was entered onto the statute roll.
Another one is that Magna Carta is a treaty so it can’t be repealed by parliament. Magna Carta isn’t a treaty which is a contract entered into by sovereign states or international organisations. It was a contract under common law between the King and a group of barons signed at the point of sword. If it was a treaty – which it isn’t – then it was signed under duress and would be invalid under Articles 51 and 52 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. Magna Carta is a statute and parliament has jurisdiction over it in the same way it has jurisdiction over Acts of the English, Scottish and (pre-Republic) Irish Parliaments, Acts of the Rump Parliament and other proclamations and statutes from before and after the civil war.
The oldest statute still on the books – the Distress Act 1267 (otherwise known as the Statute of Marlborough) – predates the British Parliament and the Rump Parliament of Cromwell’s republic yet it is still in force. It doesn’t matter whether the law was made by a King, Lord Protector, English Parliament, Scottish Parliament, Irish Parliament or British Parliament – the law is the law and parliament has jurisdiction over all laws.
To put it quite simply, there is no Article 61 of Magna Carta and rebellion is unlawful. There is no smoking constitutional gun that means you don’t have to pay taxes or fines or obey the law. There is, in fact, only one way to lawfully rebel and that is to be on the winning side so you’re the one who decides what is and isn’t lawful.
Whether you choose to believe me on this is your choice. I have nothing to gain from telling the truth – it’s not like I’m asking for donations to spread the word after all. You can carry on reading the rubbish these cranks put on their websites, try your hand at tax evasion and end up in court where you’ll try refusing to stand for the magistrate to deny him his authority because the same websites tell you that the courts are operating under admiralty law and they only have jurisdiction if you stand up for them and end up getting fined anyway because none of this stuff works. But for the love of FSM, please stop posting this crap on Facebook, starting petitions and sending round robin emails trying to find more gullible people to keep it all going!