English › Publications › My Constitutional Act with Explanations › Preface
You can read about the division of power in society in the Constitutional Act. About the Folketing as the democratically elected assembly which passes laws that apply to all of us. About the Danish Government that must ensure that laws are complied with by us citizens and by the authorities that must ensure we have good schools, hospitals and libraries, etc. About the Courts that are independent of the Government and the Folketing because they have to pass judgement in conflicts between citizens and between the public authorities and citizens. The Constitutional Act also sets out the rights you have as a citizen. We call them constitutional rights or human rights. Some of the areas protected by constitutional rights are freedom of expression, the right to assemble and demonstrate for your opinions, and the right to form associations and to be a member of an association. The Constitutional Act also ensures that you have the right to be a member of a political party and to take part in political activities – even though such activities may be in opposition to the opinions of the Government or the majority. These rights are intended to ensure that democracy functions. The rules of the Constitutional Act on referendums and election to the Folketing, for example, would not be of much value if we were not entitled to discuss political issues and express our opinions. Other areas protected by constitutional right include rules on personal liberty and ownership and the inviolability of the home. These rules are primarily intended to protect citizens against injustice on the part of the State. Anybody arrested by the police, for instance, has the right to demand that a judge considers his or her case within 24 hours. If the authorities wish to search somebody’s home, private papers, or PC, as a principal rule, they must first have obtained permission from a judge. And if the authorities wish to expropriate somebody’s house and demolish it in order to build a motorway or a railway across the lot, he or she is entitled to compensation corresponding to the value of the house and lot. In this way, the Constitutional Act imposes limits on how the State may intervene in people’s private lives. The Constitutional Act is designed to ensure a stable framework for political life and the political struggle for power. And the Constitutional Act must ensure that the rights of citizens are not violated. Both of these areas are safeguarded because it is more difficult to amend the Constitutional Act than other Acts. The Danish Constitutional Act has only been amended a few times since it was adopted more than 160 years ago. And the language in many of the sections has not been modernised since. Therefore, this booklet contains some explanatory comments on the individual Sections.