Constitution – the Standard of Legitimacy


Constitution is the body of doctrines and practices that form the fundamental organizing principle of a political state. A constitution is a set of rules which defines the relationship between the organs of government and between the government and citizens of a country. Its purpose is to set the framework of governmental power and the rights and duties of the citizens. Therefore, the constitution of any independent country will determine the system of government in that country.

In some states, such as the United States, the constitution is a specific written document; in others, such as the United Kingdom, it is a collection of documents, statutes, and traditional practices that are generally accepted as governing political matters. States that have written constitutions may also have a body of traditional or customary practices that may or may not be considered to be of constitutional standing. Virtually every state claims to have a constitution, but not every government conducts itself in a consistently constitutional manner.

In its wider sense, the term constitution means the whole scheme whereby a country is governed: and this includes much more else besides law. In its narrower sense, ‘constitution’ means the leading legal rules, usually collected into some document that comes to be venerated as ‘The Constitution.’ But no country can be compressed within the compass of one document, and even where the attempt has been made, it is necessary to consider the extralegal rules, customs, and conventions that grow up around the formal document.

Written constitutions In most Western countries the constitution using the term in the narrower sense, is a scheme of government that has been deliberately adopted by the people. Examples are the Constitution of the United States, drawn up in 1787 and ratified in 1789 and still in essentials unchanged; the constitution of the Weimar [΄waima:] Republic or that of the Federal Republic of Germany, brought in force in 1949; and the constitutions that France has had since the Revolution. The constitution in these countries is the basis of public law; it is usually enacted or adopted with special formalities; special processes are devised for its amendment and sometimes safeguards are inserted to ensure that certain provisions are unalterable.

Unwritten constitutions,An unwritten constitution means that it is not formally enacted; its rules can be found in a dozen fields, not in any one code. Similarly, it is flexible and here is the contrast with a rigid constitution. There are no special safeguards for constitutional rules; constitutional law can be changed, amended or abolished, just like any rule of private law.

3. Give the Ukrainian equivalents for the following words and expressions:

the fundamental organizing principle; the relationship between the organs of government; a collection of documents, statutes, and traditional practices; generally accepted as governing political matters; traditional or customary practices; to claim to have a constitution; the whole scheme whereby a country is governed; to consider the extralegal rules, customs, and conventions; to be usually enacted or adopted with special formalities; essentials unchanged; a scheme of government.

4. Find in the text English equivalents for the following words and expressions:

Визначити систему управління країни; встановити параметри державної влади; конституційний устрій (лад); врегульовувати політичні питання; поводитись конституційно; формувати основоположний організуючий принцип; загально прийнятий; провідні правові норми; зробити спробу; шанувати як Конституцію; в послідовно конституційній манері; в більш широкому / вузькому сенсі; ввести в дію; втілити у межах одного документа; ратифікувати; містити гарантії; гнучка / негнучка конституція; основа публічного права; випрацювати процедури для поправок; незмінні положення.

5.A:Fill in the appropriate word from the list below.

Whereby, insert, unalterable, specify, compress, attempt,ensure, claimed, flexible, deliberately

1. Compensation could be …… against the government for the loss to the owner. 2. The system … the Britons choose their family doctors and the government pays those doctors, is reasonably successful. 3. It is going to be very difficult to … this mass of material into a book of ordinary length. 4. I … compared one proposed amendment with the other. 5. We promised to …. the proper clause in the contract. 6. We will …. equal opportunities for everybody. 7. The essences of things are …. . 8. My schedule is very … . 9. The regulations …. that you may use a dictionary in the examination. 10. We made an … to get in touch with them.



B: Fill in the appropriate proposition or adverb.

1. Man can achieve a lot …. the compass of a lifetime. 2. They behaved ….a statesmanlike manner. 3. Several documents … Great Britain are venerated … the Constitution. 4. The constitution … France has existed …. the Revolution. 5. In contrast …. written constitutions, unwritten constitutions are more flexible. 6. The constitutional provisions.... unwritten constitutions can be found ….a dozen fields.

6. Match the definition in the right column to the word in the left.

1. amendment a. arrangement; ordered system; plan or design;
2. to enact b. condition in a legal document;
3. scheme c. a change proposed and made to a rule, regulation, etc.;
4. statute d. to make sure, guarantee;
5. provision e. to regard with deep respect;
6. to venerate f. make a law, issue a law, or order by a law;
7. to ensure g. being in accordance with law;
8. legitimacy h. law passed by parliament or other law-making body;

7. Read and say whether these statements are true or false:

1. The Constitution of Great Britain is codified in the single document known as the Bill of Rights. 2. The constitution of any independent country determines the system of government in that country. 3. An unwritten constitution means that a country has no constitution at all. 4. The United States has an unwritten constitution. 5. No country can be compressed within the compass of one document. 6. Every government conducts itself in a consistently constitutional manner. 7. The Constitution of the United States was drawn up in 1887 and ratified in 1889. 8. There are special processes for constitutional amendments to unwritten constitutions. 9. All provisions of a written constitution can be alterable. 10. An unwritten constitution is a rigid constitution.

8. Choose a word or phrase (a, b, or c) which best completes the unfinished sentence:

1. Laws and principles according to which a state is governed is a ….. .

a) convention; b) constitution; c) custom;

2. A collection of laws guaranteeing fundamental rights and privileges is … .

a) an unwritten constitution; b) an extralegal rule; c) a bill of rights;

3. The term constitution means the whole ….. whereby a country is governed.

a) scheme; b) statutes; c) special safeguards;

4. The Constitution is a scheme of government that has been deliberately …. by the people.

a) devised; b) adopted; c) written;

5. An example of the written constitution is the Constitution of …. .

a) Great Britain; b) New Zealand; c) the United States.

6. An example of the unwritten constitution is the Constitution of …. .

a) France; b) Israel; c) Ukraine.

9. Study the text more carefully and say:

1. what the constitution is; 2. what its purpose is; 3. what else some written constitutions may also contain; 4. what a written constitution means; 5. what an unwritten constitution means.

10. Translate into English.

1. Конституція – це фундаментальні принципи та закони нації, держави або соціальної групи, які гарантують певні права людям. Вона визначає політичний устрій держави і повноваження та обов’язки уряду. 2. Конституція – це збірка основоположних правил, зазвичай кодифікованих у єдиний документ, хоча три демократії – Британія, Нова Зеландія та Ізраїль (Israel) – мають неписані або не кодифіковані конституції. 3. До того ж, є неписані правила, загально відомі як конвенції (або угоди), які теж регулюють життя держави. 4. Крім того більшість сучасних конституцій містять Біль про права, щоб захищати права громадян.

Grammar Section









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