The Putney Debates 2019: The Courts: Friend or Foe?
- 14th March 2019, St Mary’s Church, Putney.
the EU Referendum, the courts have been called upon time and again to make
politically charged judgments to break the constitutional impasse. They have
been branded 'Enemies of the People' and fêted as defenders of
centuries-old constitutional principles in equal measure.
as the UK approaches the most significant change to its constitutional
settlement for decades, the Oxford Foundation for Law, Justice and Society
revisits for the third time the historic Putney Debates, to ask:
role do we want for our judges in the 21st Century?
2019 Putney Debates will be chaired by the renowned legal commentator Joshua
Rozenberg and the founder of the New Putney Debates Professor
us as we revisit this landmark debate on the nature and terms of the UK’s
Register at: www.PutneyDebates2019.co.uk
The Putney Debates of 1647 - The Conception of British Democracy
From the 28th October to 9th November 1647, soldiers and officers of Oliver Cromwell's New Model Army, including civilian representation, held discussions on the constitution and future of England.
Should they continue to negotiate a settlement with the defeated King Charles I? Should there even be a King or Lords? Should suffrage (a civil right to vote, known as the franchise) be limited to property-holders? Would democratic changes lead to anarchy?
This historic event saw ordinary soldiers take on their generals to argue for greater democracy and provided a platform for 'common people' to make their voices heard. These debates, forced by the Levellers, paved the way for many of the civil liberties we value today.
The Guardian national newspaper ran a readers competition to unearth which neglected event in Britain’s radical past most deserved a proper monument. St Mary’s Church Putney, the site of the Putney Debates was the worthy winner.
The exhibition is based on secondary source material from the Wandsworth Archives including: material illustrating the social context of Putney and its riverside position in the Civil War; its fiery local preacher and Cromwell’s chaplain Hugh Peters who was also one of the founders of Harvard University in the United States of America; an introduction to the Debates and copies of the original transcript; and the democratic and religious context by leading historians and human rights specialists. A fully accessible audio narrative and video will be included as well as educational material.