Eight hundred years ago, King John was forced into signing the Magna Carta with rebellious barons. This one document contributed strongly to the development of democracy not only throughout the United Kingdom but in other countries as well. Some of the Magna Carta's core principles are mirrored in the United States' Bill of Rights. Today, that democracy is being protected by the Supreme Court of the UK. Situated across from both Parliament and Westminster Abbey, the building is actually the third court that has occupied this space since 1807. This is the court of last resort except for criminal cases in Scotland, which are handled by the High Court of Judiciary. Until the Constitutional Reform Act of 2005, there had been an overlap of judicial responsibility between the court system and Parliament. Since the Reform, the Supreme Court assumed the judicial functions of the House of Lords. The present building was constructed in 1913 and currently houses three courts; the Privy Council which overseas international issues related to Commonwealth nations; a five judge appellate division; and a nine judge Supreme Court.
Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.