This was written from the point of view of the monarch at the time (King John), consequently "we" and "us", etc, refer to the monarch. The 'twenty-five Barons' are a bit of an enigma today, however the intent is pretty clear. Perhaps these days 'Lords' or even (since the advent of Parliament) 'MPs' could be substituted. What Article 61 says to me (at least) is that a modern implementation would take 25 people (possibly elected) who could even be given the courtesy title of 'Baron'. Their task would be to hear grievances and to act upon them in accordance with Article 61. The role (fallacy) of an Ombudsman would become extinct.
Here is Article 61 in its entirety. I've added links to notes that I feel are appropriate. I've also 'paragraphed' it in (what I consider to be) a more readable fashion - but I have not altered one word or any other punctuation. (You can check this by clicking on the title above, which is linked to the Magna Carter website)
All we need is "25 Barons" (who are decent and honest human beings).
Note to debunkers, legal eagles, constitutional lawyers & other superior beings, etc: The Magna Carta was written in Mediaeval Latin and translated into English, and I am English. Consequently I can read, write and comprehend English. It was written in relatively simple terms. It wasn't written to be read and 'interpreted' by lawyers, because they did not exist (in any sufficient numbers) at the time. Put simply, it was written in a way that could be readily translated so as to be understood by those who speak, read, and write the English language. Therefore my understanding is comparable to that of anyone else. It may be that, at the time it was written, few could read it in Feudal England. But that is not the case today.
Furthermore the original (1215) Magna Carta pre-dates any 'parliament'. And it was written with the general approval of the English Nation in an effort to define how a decent, just, and non-tyrannical society could function. Pre-dating Parliament, as it does, means that it falls outside to scope of any later Parliamentary attempts to modify it, or otherwise water it down. To do this is an act of treason against nation as a whole, since it forms the basis, or bedrock, for the British Constitution. Therefore to assert (as some do) that the Magna Carta is simply an icon is fallacious. Article 61, below, clearly states that assertions designed to undermine it are null & void.
But since we have granted all these things aforesaid, for GOD, and for the amendment of our kingdom, and for the better extinguishing the discord which has arisen between us and our Barons, we being desirous that these things should possess entire and unshaken stability for ever, give and grant to them the security underwritten;
namely, that the Barons may elect twenty-five Barons of the kingdom, whom they please, who shall with their whole power, observe, keep, and cause to be observed, the peace and liberties which we have granted to them, and have confirmed by this our present charter, in this manner:
that is to say, if we, or our Justiciary, or our bailiffs, or any of our officers, shall have injured any one in any thing, or shall have violated any article of the peace or security, and the injury shall have been shown to four of the aforesaid twenty-five Barons, the said four Barons shall come to us, or to our Justiciary if we be out of the kingdom, and making known to us the excess committed, petition that we cause that excess to be redressed without delay.
And if we shall not have redressed the excess, or, if we have been out of the kingdom, our Justiciary shall not have redressed it within the term of forty days , computing from the time when it shall have been made known to us, or to our Justiciary if we have been out of the kingdom, the aforesaid four Barons, shall lay that cause before the residue of the twenty-five Barons;
and they, the twenty-five Barons, with the community of the whole land, shall distress and harass us by all the ways in which they are able; that is to say, by the taking of our castles, lands, and possessions, and by any other means in their power, until the excess shall have been redressed, according to their verdict; saving harmless our person, and the persons of our Queen and children; and when it hath been redressed, they shall behave to us as they have done before.
And whoever of our land pleaseth, may swear, that he will obey the commands of the aforesaid twenty-five Barons, in accomplishing all the things aforesaid, and that with them he will harass us to the utmost of his power: and we publicly and freely give leave to every one to swear who is willing to swear; and we will never forbid any to swear.
But all those of our land, who, of themselves, and of their own accord, are unwilling to swear to the twenty-five Barons, to distress and harass us together with them, we will compel them by our command, to swear as aforesaid.
And if any one of the twenty-five Barons shall die, or remove out of the land, or in any other way shall be prevented from executing the things above said, they who remain of the twenty-five Barons shall elect another in his place, according to their own pleasure, who shall be sworn in the same manner as the rest.
In all those things which are appointed to be done by these twenty-five Barons, if it happen that all the twenty-five have been present, and have differed in their opinions about any thing, or if some of them who had been summoned, would not, or could not be present, that which the greater part of those who were present shall have provided and decreed, shall be held as firm and as valid, as if all the twenty-five had agreed in it: and the aforesaid twenty-five shall swear, that they will faithfully observe, and, with all their power, cause to be observed, all the things mentioned above.
And we will obtain nothing from any one, by ourselves, nor by another, by which any of these concessions and liberties may be revoked or diminished. And if any such thing shall have been obtained, let it be void and null: and we will never use it, neither by ourselves nor by another.
End of Article 61.
. "entire and unshaken stability for ever". No time limit, therefore applies in 2008, 2009, etc.
. Yes, we are talking about 'security' and not about giving up liberty.
 Who elects the Barons in the first place? See "Notes about democracy", below.
 Security entirely due to peace and liberties?
. "or any of our officers, shall have injured any one in any thing" ... e.g. police? Violating "peace or security" ... could that be unlawful support of bailiffs? Tasering, killing innocent Brazilians, etc?
. "without delay" does not mean ignoring it, or tying it up in yards of red tape. It means "without delay". Only four of the Barons need to be convinced of the grievance (initially).
. There's the "forty days" in order to limit any delays. Forty days in 1215 is no different from forty days in 2008. In fact forty days could be considered excessive in a society dominated by the ready access to computers.
. "with the community of the whole land" ... that's anyone and everyone who sees or feels the 'distress'?
. "shall distress and harass us by all the ways in which they are able" ... that's anything (initially) but this is later qualified (quite reasonably) not to mean violence.
. "by the taking of our castles, lands, and possessions" in other words we could take Buck House, Windsor Castle, etc.
. "and by any other means in their power" ... non-cooperation, lawful rebellion, for example.
. "until the excess shall have been redressed" ... the monarch, or 'authorities' can have it all back once the grievance has been sorted out. That's perfectly reasonable of course.
. "saving harmless our person, and the persons of our Queen and children" ... but we cannot, and must never, resort to violence of course.
. "they shall behave to us as they have done before" ... the situation will return to normal. The Queen will get Buck House back.
. "he will obey the commands of the aforesaid twenty-five Barons" provided they are honest and operate with integrity?
. "with them he will harass us to the utmost of his power" ditto to 14, above. Apart from violence, and non-cooperation ("spanners in works") is actually encouraged?
. "and we publicly and freely give leave to every one to swear who is willing to swear; and we will never forbid any to swear" ... it's everyone's right, and can't be taken away.
. "But all those of our land, who, of themselves, and of their own accord, are unwilling to swear to the twenty-five Barons, to distress and harass us together with them, we will compel them by our command, to swear as aforesaid" In fact you have these rights, whether you like it or not!
. "shall elect another in his place" elect = a hint at democracy. See "Notes about democracy", below.
. The aforesaid all works on a majority basis (another hint at democracy). See "Notes about democracy", below.
. And this is the position in 1215 and any time thereafter. And it cannot be taken away. And if any 'law' is passed which contravenes this situation, that 'law' is only 'colour of law' i.e. it is null & void.
Notes about Democracy.
The word 'elect' appears twice in this Clause, which leads to the interesting idea of "democracy". The method of election is left unstated. Nevertheless, as many appreciate today, the Establishment basically 'elects' itself (as it always did). In 2008, the methodology is simply more subtle, i.e. swords are no longer used, the media being used instead.
There is nothing to stop 25 people changing their names, via Deed Polls, to "Baron ...". A Baron is considered to be someone with an "estate", but any person possesses "an estate" in legal terms. (Try making a Will, without using that word). This would satisfy the wording of Article 61, enabling the essence of it to be put into practice.
It may be that the Royal Family claim the "divine right of kings" to award Baronetcies but this, in itself, could be considered a grievance (to be redressed) under Article 61 ... where the alternative could be to democratically-elect 25 honest & decent persons, to be given the courtesy title of Baron/Baroness (merely in order to satisfy the wording), with the specific task of implementing and maintaining the essence of Article 61. (I suggest).
So ... how about a "Clause or Article 61" Political Party? Dedicated to implementing this portion of the Magna Carta. No other portion of that document conflicts with any other, so it is possible to focus on one aspect. And then widen the scope to encompass Clause 39, and the Bill of Rights (etc) at a later date.
Since the EU is attempting to ban Political Parties from 2009 onwards, this lawful rebellion could rebound back on it. As the party was being banned it is likely that an opportunity would exist to announce, via a soundbite: "We are only trying to explain that Article 61 can be used to solve grievances". Who would not be interested in that? Everyone has grievances. Could this be a way of waking people up?
Veronica Chapman, August, 2008