2015 Essay Contest – The Magna Carta

2015 Essay Contest: The Magna Carta

King John signing the Magna Carta, 1215 (Kronheim 1868)

King John signing the Magna Carta, 1215 (Kronheim 1868)

2015 is the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, a document that set the groundwork for many of the fundamental rights and freedoms of Canadians.  While the force of this document has been threatened, its core principles are embodied in the legal traditions of most Western societies: the equality of all people (including Kings) before the law; trial by jury; habeas corpus; and women’s rights to name some of them.

To celebrate the 800th anniversary of this historic document, the JCCF is asking students at Canadian universities to consider the effect and application of the Magna Carta’s core principles in Canada today.  Given new and emerging threats to our freedoms—censorship of unpopular views, surveillance and privacy concerns, and more, are Canadians abandoning the Magna Carta?

The JCCF asks students at Canadian universities to answer the question:

To what extent have Canadians abandoned the principles and liberties of the Magna Carta?
If Magna Carta freedoms have been lost, what must Canadians do to regain them, and to preserve existing ones?


1st – $1,000           2nd – $500           3rd – $250


This contest is open to those who were students at a Canadian university or college during this past 2014-15 school year (including full-time and part-time students) and to those who will be commencing studies (full-time or part-time) at a Canadian college or university this September 2015.

The essay should be no more than 2,500 words, and should be submitted online at JCCF.ca.

The quality of the writing and persuasiveness of argument will be the central criteria considered by the judges. Specific examples that illustrate arguments will help to make an essay more persuasive.


The deadline to submit essays for JCCF’s 2015 Essay Contest is Tuesday, September 30, 2015.

Magna Carta: Our Shared Legacy of Liberty

Students are encouraged to learn more about the history and meaning of the Magna Carta by watching this documentary-trailer by authoritative historian and journalist Dr. John Robson.  “Magna Carta: Canada’s Legacy of Liberty” will visit key British, American and Canadian sites from Runnymede to Westminster, Jamestown, Valley Forge and Nova Scotia in a feature-length documentary to explain the relevance of the Magna Carta for Canadians.

Our nation is not a recent, intellectual concept that arose out of a sociology department. It is an adventure in liberty under law that is still being written.

The documentary will explain the origins of our government: How control of the purse by the commons, freedom of speech in Parliament, the specific, accessible legal remedies that protect ordinary people from arbitrary arrest and the seizure of their property were all affirmed in Magna Carta, and preserved over succeeding centuries by men and women clear on their rights and brave in their defence.

Watch the documentary and learn more about the project at magnacartadocumentary.com



Students can also learn more about the history of the Magna Carta at MagnaCartaCanada.com. Magna Carta Canada is organizing a Canadian exhibition of the Magna Carta this summer in a Canadian city near you! Check out the tour schedule at MagnaCartaCanada.com