The Reading Room
The Best of the OLL No. 43: “The Habeas Corpus Act” (1679)
This is part of “The Best of the Online Library of Liberty” which is a collection of some of the most important material in the OLL. A thematic list with links to HTML versions of the texts is available [here](/pages/best-of-the-oll). Parliament passed the Habeas Corpus Act in 1679 as part of a campaign against King Charles II led by the Earl of Shaftesbury who was attempting to exclude Charles II’s brother James from the succession to the throne of England because of his Catholic religious beliefs and the fear that he would rule in an arbitrary manner. The Act was designed to place limits on the arbitrary power of the monarch to imprison his political opponents by by-passing the courts.