Monday, 23 February 2015, is the 799 years and 8 month anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta. This non-anniversary is being used by the government to host The Global Law Summit “a unique opportunity to explore what the future holds for global business and the rule of law”.
Or, as The Rt Hon David Cameron MP, Prime Minister, puts it on the Summit website:
“To mark 800 years since Magna Carta, I am pleased that London will welcome global leaders in both business and the law to discuss the issues that are shaping the agenda legally, commercially and socially over the next generation. I am delighted to support the Global Law Summit – it is yet more evidence that Britain continues to lead the way in promoting free enterprise, economic growth, and the rule of law around the world.”
Magna Carta represents the oldest historical commitment to equal access to justice in Britain. We intend to remind the Government of its duty to provide access to justice for all, and not merely to the rich. Perhaps "remind" is too generous as it is not clear they ever understood this as a fundamental duty. So, the Justice Alliance is marking the event with its own, #NottheGlobalLawSummit.
The Global Law Summit itself is silent on the effects of the attacks on access to justice and by extension the rule of law (for a broader assessment see Peter Oborne, The hypocrites have jumped abord the Magna Carta bandwaggon). It is a back slapping corporate jamboree, and is partly funded by the Ministry of Justice at a time when the same department has waged a slash and burn campaign on advice and representation leaving people without deep pockets unable to get justice in court.
We cordially invite you to join our Relay for Rights. This begins at 12, noon, at Runnymede by the Thames, where the Magna Carta was sealed, on Saturday 21 February. It concludes with an assembly: Not the Global Law Summit at Old Palace Yard, Westminster at 1pm on Monday 23 February. We are starting at Runnymede to make it clear that in so far as the Magna Carta lies at the root of the principles of justice and liberty in our country, it belongs to all of us, the people. (See the Guardian's Owen Bowcott for a take on our campaign).
We will be walking along the Thames Path. So put on a good pair of waterproof boots!
Here is the day-by-day schedule of how best to join us.
Saturday: Day One – Runnymede to Hampton Court on the Thames Path
Starting Point – Runnymede at 12 noon
Please aim to gather at 11.30 before we start off.
The best way to get here from London is to take the 10.20 am train from Waterloo to Egham. The train gets in just past 11am, we will have two mini-buses available to ferry people to the site . Local taxis can take you too, or the 71 bus goes close to the site.
Justice Alliance organisers will be at Egham to give people more help if they want to catch the local bus.
After a short event at Runnymede we set off along the Thames Path, the walk to Staines is a nice stroll taking about 90 minutes at a relaxed pace.
We are going to stop at a pub on the South side of the river in Staines called The Swan Hotel.
After about 30 minutes we are heading off along the North Bank towards Chertsey, the pace will have to be much faster from Staines onwards because we will be losing the light and need to get to Shepperton to catch the ferry by 5pm. Those who quite sensibly don’t fancy marching at speed should peel off at Staines. The station is approximately a 10 minute walk from The Swan Hotel. Staines has a direct train service to London Waterloo.
If people want to slog as far as Chertsey and then head back to London we need to warn you that the station is about 1km from the river and you need to walk through to the town to get there
After Chertsey we push on for Shepperton. If anyone wants to stop there, they can catch a train back to Waterloo from Shepperton itself (54 minutes ) or nearby Walton-on-Thames where trains are very frequent and take either 25 or 36 mins
Our aim, light allowing, is to get to Hampton Court which is across the river from Thames Ditton which again has a train to London Waterloo either direct or via Surbiton.
Total walk 16-18 miles (depending on where we stop)
Sunday: Day Two – Hampton Court to Putney
We start at 9am from wherever we stopped the evening before.
By far the most practical thing for people wanting to join us on the Sunday is to meet us at The White Cross pub on the Thames Path on the south bank of the River at Richmond. The Thames Path is signposted from the Richmond overground and Tube stations. The pub is about 5 minutes walk from both stations. Head for the river and you can’t miss it.
We will be getting there around 1pm and setting off again at 2pm with as many new fellow walkers as possible.
The Thames Path then goes through Kew, Chiswick, Barnes and past Hammersmith Bridge which all afford opportunities for people to stop and catch public transport. We end at Putney Bridge by late afternoon,a couple of minutes walk from Putney Tube station.
Unless conditions dictate otherwise we will stick to the south bank of the river.
We are encouraging families and people with disabilities to join us on this Sunday afternoon .
Total walk 16-18 miles (the Richmond to Putney leg is 8 miles).
Monday: Day Three – Putney to Westminster
From Putney Church to Westminster, Old Palace Yard and Not the Global Law Summit Rally (8 miles)
At 9am we meet outside St Mary’s Church, by the bridge in Putney. This was the scene of the historic Putney Debates when the New Model Army clashed over the purpose of the English Civil War and Thomas Rainsborough said, "the poorest hee that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest hee", arguably the earliest claim for modern democracy.
We walk along the south bank until we cross over at Vauxhall Bridge.
We will aim to get to Old Palace Yard by 12.45. The Rally starts at 1pm.
We will be sending twitter updates as to our progress with the hashtag #relay4rights. If people cannot join us at either Runnymede on Saturday 21st or Richmond on Sunday 22nd, they can meet up with us en route on those days. Probably the best thing to do to try to join us is to get on to the Thames Path in front of us then wait for us to arrive.
We will post a contact number for the walk when it is underway on our website and here if we can update this article.
We will have a support mini-bus with water available
For those who are driving to join us from outside London, because we are not doing a circular route it will be more practical to park in London and then take public transport to and from the walk.
It will be fantastic to see you there.