English constitution – self-assessment questions.


1. Define the word constitution.

2. Outline the matters that an ideal constitution would cover.

3. Give two examples of the separation of powers under the US constitution.

4. What is meant by a rigid constitution?

5. Which act of Parliament incorporates EC law into UK law?

6. Which parts of the UK have their own parliaments/assemblies?


1. A constitution is a body of law in statutes or case law that comprises the fundamental laws of a state. A constitution propounds the essential rights of citizens and defines the character of a state and often its territorial boundaries. A constitution explains how the different bodies within a state shall work together and what the laws concerning government are.


2. A constitution should state the full constitutional title of the state. It ought to law out the fundamental rights of citizens. It will declare what sort of polity the state is – one party state, democracy or dictatorship and so forth. A constitution will declare how different law-making bodies; provinces; courts and so forth are to interact. It will say who the head of state is and the head of government is. It will say how such persons are chosen; how long they can serve and how they can be deposed in case of dire need.


The President is not allowed to be a member of the Congress. The Supreme Court can strike down laws that are unconstitutional.


4. A rigid constitution is one that cannot easily be changed and cannot be made, as a temporary provision, to adapt to the needs of a difficult situation such as a war. A rigid constitution would seek to provide for every eventuality rather than allowing authorities to respond as they see fit. A rigid constitution such as the US constitution says that 2/3rds of Congress or 2/3rds of the state must approve a constitutional change. That is why there have been thousands of proposals for constitutional amendments but so few have been carried – 25.


5. The European Communities Act 1972.


Northern Ireland




About Calers

Born Belfast 1971. I read history at Edinburgh. I did a Master's at UCL. I have semi-libertarian right wing opinions. I am married with a daughter and a son. I am allergic to cats. I am the falling hope of the not so stern and somewhat bending Tories. I am a legal beagle rather than and eagle. Big up the Commonwealth of Nations.

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