Magna Carta and Freemen on the Land
4 December 2020
I was put on to this decision from the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta by a response to a post from the Secret Barrister on Twitter (@barristerSecret) . This concerns the Magna Carta tsunami that has wreaked a certain amount of havoc on social media in response to the government’s Covid restrictions.
We have been taking an interest in the Freemen on the Land phenomenon from the early days of the UKHRB. See Adam Wagner’s 2011 “Freemen of the Dangerous Nonsense” and his comment on the 2012 Alberta case Meads v. Meads, 2012 ABQB 571 (CanLII)
I urge you to read the Secret Barrister’s article in full: Can the Magna Carta Give You Immunity from Covid Regulations?. Just by way of summary, I’ll give you a few quotes from the article before giving a brief description of the Alberta judgment. The Secret Barrister reports that business owners have been posting in public places their interpretation of this ancient document because they believe it to
confer immunity from the regulations requiring them to close their businesses for 4 weeks. Unfortunately, as the proliferation of punitive financial penalties demonstrates, no such immunity exists.
Followers of the group called “Freemen on the Land” claim to have pledged an oath of allegiance to Lord Craigmyle of Invernesshire, one of a group of British peers who campaigned in 2001 to block the United Kingdom’s ratification of the Treaty of Nice, part of the sequence of agreements to extend the powers of EU authorities. The Secret Barrister describes the self-styled “Freemen on the Land” as
a grouping of proselytising individuals who believe that by misquoting Magna Carta and basic tenets of contract law, they can somehow place themselves outside the jurisdiction of the law of England & Wales. By making various incoherent and illogical assertions cloaked in legalese, they profess to be bound by “other” laws, such as the laws of the sea or long-repealed mediaeval treaties, and claim that the legal system has no control over them.
As he points out, this “fraud” has already been adjudicated upon elsewhere; the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta in the case of Meads v. Meads, the 2012 judgment referred to above. The ruling “painstakingly and comprehensively dismantled the legal shibboleths of these various linked movements (referred to by the judge as “Organised Pseudolegal Commercial Argument litigants”, or “OPCA”, due to a common thread of the groups’ arguments being that in order to be bound by the law, you have to explicitly agree to it, akin to entering a commercial contract).”
And now we have the latest from High Court in Alberta. Mr Justice Robert A. Graesser does not mince his words in his opening statements:
 Pseudolaw is a collection of spurious legally incorrect ideas that superficially sound like law, and purport to be real law. In layman’s terms, pseudolaw is pure nonsense.
 Pseudolaw is typically employed by conspiratorial, fringe, criminal, and dissident minorities who claim pseudolaw replaces or displaces conventional law. These groups attempt to gain advantage, authority, and other benefits via this false law.
The Canadian branch of Freemen on the Land claimed that Canada’s laws only applied to them if they consented to it, and, as the judge observes, “unsurprisingly, Freemen usually didn’t.”
In Alberta members of these and other “pseudo-legal” groups have been filing documents with the courts with titles like “Notice of Lawful Objection & Declaratation of Standing in Law” [sic]; the misspelling is one of the many variants of the word that the person who invented the Magna Carta Lawful Rebellion [MCLR] scheme, UK resident David Robinson, The Canadian authors of these items declare that they too have sworn an oath of allegiance to the Scots Lord, and say that on that basis they are outside Canadian law.
This extraordinary claim is allegedly the result of Article 61 of the 1215 Magna Carta and the actions a group of rebel barons whose resistance to Crown treason, strangely enough, began in 2001, almost eight centuries after the death of King John in 1216.
The “Alleged Unauthorised Representative” to this dispute, “Jacquie Phoenix” claimed to be representing the mother in a bitter custody battle. Her real name is Jacqueline Robinson. As a member of the MCLR, Ms Robinson maintained that Canada’s laws did not apply to her or her client nor could the courts enforce them.
Graesser J received a letter from Ms Robinson two months before handing down this ruling. In the letter, she claimed to represent the mother of the child at the centre of the dispute, and said that if he did not order the return of the child he would be accused of sedition and sentenced accordingly.
The judge barred her from representing the mother, saying that Robinson had abused the court process as a “busybody” interloper.
I can only guess at the scope and kind of misconduct and self-injury that results from the MCLR [the Magna Carta] belief. But in this case I know that there is a little four-year-old girl whose health, safety, and well-being are being placed in jeopardy by these ideas.”
The judge has not only barred Ms Robinson from representing any other clients in Alberta’s courts, but has also said he would send a copy of his decision to Lord Craigmyle.
I think he should know that the hundreds, if not thousands, of oaths of allegiance that he is receiving are part of an organized campaign of deception and disinformation.