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The Magna Carta | Section Summaries


Section Summaries Chart

Section Summary
Preamble King John, who holds several other titles in addition to king of England, greets all of his faithful subjects. For the g... Read More
Section 1 This charter grants that the English Church shall have liberty, especially in the matter of electing Church officials. I... Read More
Section 2–Section 8 The king agrees to charge only the specified fees (reliefs) to transfer a title (such as earl or baron) to an heir. ... Read More
Section 9–Section 11 A person's land will not be seized in order to pay a debt unless the person cannot pay it with his other assets. Even ... Read More
Section 12–Section 16 No scutage (tax) will be levied unless agreed to by common counsel. The only exceptions are to ransom the king, make t... Read More
Section 17–Section 22 Common pleas—lawsuits not involving the king—will take place at a fixed location, not move with the king's court. ... Read More
Section 23–Section 37 No one can be forced to maintain bridges except those who traditionally bore this responsibility. Sheriffs, co... Read More
Section 38–Section 40 A bailiff cannot place a man on trial based on the bailiff's own accusation. Other credible witnesses must attest to t... Read More
Section 41–Section 42 Merchants can move in and out of England, and throughout the country, safely and free of illegal tolls. They can move ... Read More
Section 43 This section concerns the death of a tenant on an escheat (property reverted to the possession of the king). His heir wi... Read More
Section 44 People who live outside the forest are not required to respond to a general summons by forest officials. The exception i... Read More
Section 45 Only men who know the law and can be trusted to keep it will be appointed as justices, constables, sheriffs, or other of... Read More
Section 46 Barons who have founded abbeys have the wardship of them when there is no abbot or prior. Read More
Section 47–Section 48 Forests and riverbanks that have been designated for the king's use shall immediately be returned to their previous st... Read More
Section 49–Section 53 The king will return hostages and deeds seized during his conflict with the barons. Specific people, including... Read More
Section 54–Section 55 No one accused of homicide will be arrested or placed in prison on the appeal of a woman. The only exception will be i... Read More
Section 56–Section 59 The lands and liberties taken unfairly from the Welsh by the king will be restored. If anyone brings a dispute about t... Read More
Section 60–Section 61 The liberties described in this document also apply to laymen and clergymen. All who receive these liberties should se... Read More
Section 62 The king pardons all ill will, malice, and trespasses that occurred as a result of the disputes between the king and his... Read More
Section 63 The English Church will be free, and the freedoms and rights in the charter apply to all men and their heirs, everywhere... Read More
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