1.1 General description and key data of the constitutional system

The constitutional Act is the Foundation of Danish Democracy. In the Constitutional Act, you can read about the distribution of power in society. About the Danish Parliament, Folketinget, the democratically elected assembly which passes Acts, that apply to us all. About the Danish Government, which must ensure that the Acts are complied with by us citizens and by the public authorities which must ensure that, for example, we have good schools, hospitals and libraries. About the Courts, which are independent of the Government and Parliament because they have to pass judgement in conflicts between citizens and between public authorities and citizens. The Constitutional Act also sets out the rights you enjoy as a citizen. We call them constitutional rights or human rights. One type of constitutional rights includes freedom of expression, the right to assemble and demonstrate for your opinions and the right to set up 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 be politically active, even if this conflicts with the opinions of the Government or the majority. These rights are intended to ensure that democracy can function. The rules in the Constitutional Act on referenda and elections to Parliament, for example, would not be worth much if we were not entitled to discuss political issues and express our opinions. The other type of constitutional rights includes the rules on personal freedom, ownership and the inviolability of the home. These rules are intended primarily to protect citizens against infringement of their rights by the State. If you are arrested by the police, for example, you are entitled to have a judge decide on your case within 24 hours. If the public authorities want to examine your home, your private papers or your PC, they generally require the permission of a judge first. And if the public authorities want to take your house to demolish it in order to build a motorway or railway across the site, you are entitled to receive compensation equivalent to the value of the house and the site. The Constitutional Act thus sets limits on how the State may interfere in our private lives. The Constitutional Act is intended to guarantee a stable framework for political life and the political struggles for power. It is also intended to guarantee that citizens' rights are not infringed. Both of these elements are guaranteed by the Constitutional Act being more difficult to amend than other Acts. The Danish Constitutional Act has only been amended a few times since it was passed more than 150 years ago. The language in many of the sections of the Act has not been modernised since then.

Source: http://www.folketinget.dk/pdf/Min_Grundlov_eng.pdf (213 KB)