Constitutions, law and judges - Constitutions - The purpose of a constitution

4 important questions on Constitutions, law and judges - Constitutions - The purpose of a constitution

What are the five functions of a constitution?

- Empowering states
- Establishing unifying values and goals
- Provide government stability
- Protect freedom
- Legitimize regimes

What does empowering of the state entail?

Constitutions mark out the existence of states and make claims concerning their sphere of independent authority.
Empowerment is needed so they have formal jurisdiction over a particular territory or a governing apparatus.

(Treaties can constitute part of constitutions)

Why is the constitution important in providing stability?

Complex patterns of social interaction can be maintained only if all concerned know 'the rules of the game' and,  therefore, who can be expected to do what.

What are two dimensions of the legitimisation process of constitutions?

1. The existence of a constitution is almost a prerequisite for a state's membership of the international community and for its recognition by other states.
2. The ability to use a constitution to build legitimacy within a state through the promotion of respect and compliance amongst the domestic population.

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