Liberties and Customs of the City of London – Are There any Left?

Graham S McBain


The ‘City of London’ is famed throughout the world. However, few people realise that, today, it is actually very limited in physical ambit (to the ‘Square Mile’). And, that it is not the same as the city of London as such. Nor, that it’s mayor (the Lord Mayor of the City of London) is not the same as the Mayor of London (currently, Boris Johnson).

However, the City of London is governed by a series of charters from c. 1132. Charters in which sovereigns of England - in return for generous loans and sums of money - granted to the City of London many Crown prerogatives (privileges). These charters were to be replicated in numerous other charters granted to cities, boroughs and towns throughout England in the ensuing centuries.

This article argues that - in modern times - we need modern law. Law that is understandable to laymen as well as lawyers. It also argues that all these charters granted to the City of London are palpably obsolete and should be cancelled. If so, then so should those charters granted to cities, boroughs and towns. In this way, much obsolete law will be removed and the law made more intelligible. This can only be to the common good.

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