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Does the UK need a new Magna Carta? Northumbria Law Students give their views to Parliament

11th June 2015

Law students from Northumbria University visited Westminster to give their opinion on the possibility of a ‘new Magna Carta’.

As the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta approaches, the Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee is consulting on whether the UK needs a written constitution.

The students met with representatives from the Committee, presented a written response on the topic and discussed if now is a good time for the UK to embark upon the path towards a written constitution.

They were welcomed by Graham Allen MP, chair of the Committee, who was impressed by their hard work and dedication. As well as meeting the Committee members, the group also managed to watch oral questions in the House of Commons chamber and observe evidence being taken by the Committee from academic experts about the clauses in the Draft Scotland Bill.

The trip was co-ordinated by Senior Lecturer Richard Glancey. He said “Projects and visits like this are hugely beneficial to students. Not only does it increase their legal knowledge and professional development, but it also enhances their personal development. During this visit in particular, students were able to gain first-hand experience of life at Westminster, and saw that they can and do have a part to play in society and that their opinions are valued.”

The students are all members of Northumbria Law School’s Student Law Think Tank, a student society which works with staff to get students engaged with real legal policy issues affecting society. The society has spent the last few weeks working on the Committee’s consultation, meeting up in the evenings, researching the issues, debating the different approaches, writing up their views, and producing a written response which was submitted to the Committee.

Lucy Taylor, an MLaw Exempting student who attended the trip, said: “I found the whole trip really interesting, but I particularly enjoyed the Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee taking evidence as it put everything I have learnt during my course and in the Think Tank into a practical context. That is why it is essential that students are given such fantastic opportunities like these -  politics is a lot more interesting than the text books can portray.”

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