Literature Study GuidesThe Magna CartaSection 56 Section 59 Summary

The Magna Carta | Study Guide

King John

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The Magna Carta | Section 56–Section 59 | Summary



Section 56

The lands and liberties taken unfairly from the Welsh by the king will be restored. If anyone brings a dispute about this, a judgment will be made by their peers. The judgment will be according to the law of the land—whether that be England or Wales. The Welsh will do likewise.

Section 57

The promises made in Section 56 are suspended while the king is fighting in the Crusades. The king will take care of attending to these matters when he returns from fighting.

Section 58

All Welsh hostages will be returned, including the son of the Welsh king.

Section 59

All Scottish hostages will be returned, including the sisters of Alexander, King of Scots. The King of Scot's liberties and rights will also be restored.


These four sections address the king's wrongs against the Welsh and Scottish. In them the king promises to return the lands, rights, and hostages he and his father illegally took. Section 56 reflects there is a procedure for the return of the lands and liberties. The location of the lands in dispute determines the particular "law of the land" by which the dispute will be judged. The process for bringing and resolving a dispute was apparently complex enough that it could not be taken care of while the king was away. Thus, Section 57 makes the provision that the king is not obligated to fulfill the promises of Section 56 while he is away on a Crusade.

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