The 2015 Oxford Conference: Magna Carta and Freedom of Religion or Belief

The International Center for Law and Religion Studies, in cooperation with the Oxford Journal of Law and Religion, hosted its 2015 Oxford Conference June 21-24  at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, commemorating the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta, “the greatest constitutional document of all times—the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot”.{*} 


The event began with a devotional Sunday evening at the Oxford LDS Meetinghouse, featuring an address Religious Freedom and the Habits of the Heart by Elder Bruce C. Hafen, Emeritus General Authority and Member of the First Quorum of Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and a violin performance of Ave Maria (Bach / Gounod) by Mark Oshia of Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, accompanied by Elder Hafen.

Monday featured presentations at St Hugh’s College addressing the conference theme, Magna Carta and Freedom of Religion or Belief and concluding with a keynote address by Professor Nicholas Vincent, University of East Anglia, Historical Researcher of The Magna Carta Project.

On Tuesday, participants visited Runnymede, Windsor Castle, the Magna Carta Exhibit at the British Library, and Temple Church, where they were hosted by Master of The Temple, The Revd Robin Griffith-Jones and by Professor Mark Hill QC, Chancellor of the Diocese of Chicester and the Diocese in Europe, and Member of the Legal Advisory Commission of the General Synod of the Church of England, who addressed the group. The day concluded with a reception and dinner at Inner Temple, featuring keynote speaker, The Right Honourable The Lord Judge PC QC, Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales (2008-2013).

On Wednesday, participants joined, once again at St Hugh’s College, in the day-long Oxford Journal of Law and Religion Academy.


  • The Rt Hon The Lord Judge PC QC, Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales (2008-2013), co-author: Magna Carta Uncovered (Hart Publishing, 2014) 
  • Professor Mark Hill QC, Cardiff University, King’s College London, University Pretoria, co-editor: Magna Carta, Religion, and the Rule of Law (Cambridge, 2015)
  • Professor Nicholas Vincent, University of East Anglia, The Magna Carta Project, author: Magna Carta: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2012)
  • Professor Richard H. Helmholz, University of Chicago Law School, author: Magna Carta and the Law of Nations, in Magna Carta, Religion, and the Rule of Law (Cambridge, 2015)


  • Sophie Ambler, Sr Post Doctoral Research Associate, University of East Anglia, Magna Carta Project
  • Pieter Coertzen, Professor, Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, and University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • W. Cole Durham, Jr., Professor of Law and Director, ICLRS, Brigham Young University Law School
  • Frederick M. Gedicks, Professor of Law, Brigham Young University Law School
  • Bruce C. Hafen, Former Provost, Brigham Young University, and Former Dean, BYU Law School
  • Richard H. Helmholz, Ruth Wyatt Rosenson Distinguished Service Professor of Law, University of Chicago Law School
  • Mark Hill QC, Honorary Professor, Centre for Law and Religion, Cardiff University; Extraordinary Professor, University of Pretoria; Visiting Professor, Dickson Poon Law School, King’s College, United Kingdom
  • Akinola Ibidapo-Obe, Professor and Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Lagos
  • David M. Kirkham, Senior Fellow for Comparative Law and International Policy; Regional Advisor for the European Union and Council of Europe, ICLRS, and Associate Professor of Political Science, Brigham Young University
  • Tore Lindholm, Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Law, Oslo Coalition on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, University of Oslo, Norway
  • David Little, Research Fellow, Berkley Center, Georgetown University; Professor Emeritus, Harvard Divinity School
  • Nicholas Miller, Professor and Director, International Religious Liberty Institute, Andrews University
  • Faizan Mustafa, Vice-Chancellor, NALSAR University of Law, India

ADDITIONAL SPEAKERS, Oxford Journal of Law and Religion Academy, including:

  • Rex Ahdar, Professor of Law, University of Otago, New Zealand
  • Andrea Ajibade, Lecturer, Jurisprudence and International Law, University of Lagos
  • Renae Barker, Faculty of Law, University of Western Australia
  • Iain T. Benson, Professor of Law, University of the Free State, South Africa
  • Neil Foster, Faculty of Business and Law, Newcastle Law School, Australia
  • Mark Janis, Visiting Professor, University of Oxford, Professor of Law, University of Connecticut
  • Richard Moon, Professor of Law, Windsor Law, University of Windsor
  • Thiago Alves Pinto, St Peter’s College, Oxford
  • Caroline Roberts, School of Law Bristol
  • Brett Scharffs, Professor of Law, Associate Dean, and Associate Director, ICLRS, BYU Law School
  • Keith Thompson, Associate Dean and Senior Lecturer, University of Notre Dame, Australia
  • Augusto Zimmermann, Senior Lecturer and Fmr Associate Dean, School of Law at Murdoch University