Event announcement: Magna Carta Then and Now

1217 Magna Carta - Heritage - Visit Britain - Poster (Landscape)When: Wednesday, 11 November 2015, 7:00 to 8:30 pm (registration begins at 6:30 pm).
Where: Mochtar Riady Auditorium, Singapore Management University,
Level 5, Administration Building, 81 Victoria Street, Singapore 188065.

This event is open to the public. There is no charge to attend the talk, but registration is required.
To register, please click here.


Described as “England’s greatest export”, this year Magna Carta’s 800th birthday is being celebrated the world over. But exactly what is this thing we are commemorating? Was there a single Magna Carta or a series of them? Exactly what does the Charter say?

Magna Carta has had a continuing influence globally on the rule of law and the principle of limited government. However, rule of law and constitutional law standards, of which Magna Carta is an early and probably the best known example, are often dependent on the socio-economic, cultural, and political context in which they occur. Similarly, these standards require an institutional structure suitable for, capable of, and committed to, their proper implementation.

Come and join three constitutional law experts to find out what the Great Charter’s legacy is. Kevin Tan will try to peel away the layers of myth, mantras and misconceptions behind the Magna Carta, and to reveal an instrument that was not born to greatness but instead had greatness thrust upon it. Jack Lee will then consider how Magna Carta applied as a statute in Singapore’s early years, and how its key principles are still mentioned in Parliament and referenced by the courts. Finally, Eugene Tan will discuss the references to the Magna Carta in Singapore’s legislative debates and its limited salutary influence on how good governance is conceived in a one-party dominant political system.

This talk is held in conjunction with 800 Years of Magna Carta, an exhibition at the Supreme Court of Singapore from 19 to 23 November 2015 that will feature an original 1217 version of Magna Carta from Hereford Cathedral.


Viewing the Magna Carta Replicas

We invite you to arrive and register by 6:30 pm so that you have time to view replicas of one of the 1215 Magna Cartas in the collection of the British Library, a 1215 writ issued by King John, and the 1217 Magna Carta from Hereford Cathedral. These exhibits have been kindly lent to us by the British High Commission Singapore.


About the Speakers

Dr Kevin Tan Yew Lee

Kevin Y L Tan, LLB (Hons) (NUS); LLM, JSD (Yale), is a leading expert on the legal history and constitutional law of Singapore. He is currently Adjunct Professor at the Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore as well as at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University. Kevin has written and edited over 30 books and numerous articles on the law, history and politics of Singapore and has curated many significant historical exhibitions. He is the Curator for the Singapore leg of the Magna Carta world tour exhibition.

Eugene K B Tan

Eugene K B Tan, LLB (Hons) (NUS), MSc (Comparative Politics) (LSE), JSM (Stanford), is an associate professor at the School of Law, Singapore Management University, and co-director of the SMU Centre for Scholars’ Development. An advocate and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore, Eugene was educated at the National University of Singapore, London School of Economics and Political Science, and Stanford University where he was a Fulbright Fellow. Eugene’s inter-disciplinary research interests include constitutional and administrative law, law and public policy, the regulation of ethnic conflict, and the government and politics of Singapore. Between February 2012 and August 2014, Eugene served as a Nominated Member of Parliament in Singapore’s 12th Parliament.

Dr Jack Tsen-Ta Lee

Jack Tsen-Ta Lee, LLB (Hons) (NUS), LLM (UCL, Lond), PhD (B’ham), is an assistant professor at the School of Law, Singapore Management University, where he teaches and researches constitutional and administrative law, and media law, while maintaining an interest in heritage law. He graduated with an LLB (Hons) from the National University of Singapore, and an LLM from University College London in 2003 which he completed on a British Chevening Scholarship. In 2012, he was conferred a PhD in Law by the University of Birmingham, which was funded by a teaching assistantship. He won the School of Law’s Most Promising Teacher Award for 2010–2011.

There is no charge to attend the talk, but registration is required.
To register, please click here.


Can’t make it to this event? A companion talk on Magna Carta will be held at the Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore, on Monday, 9 November 2015. Please click here for more details.

The Choir, Hereford Cathedral

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