Entries by unsereverfassung

WHAT IS THE CONSTITUTION?

A constitution is a special law which regulates the basis for all matters that concern the state. It determines what is the state’s structure and who has the power to adopt laws and to make and enforce decisions on behalf of the state. The constitution also regulates the status of individuals in the state: it […]

FREEDOM

The history of democratic constitutions is inseparable from people’s call for freedom. It started with the atrocities committed during the wars of religion which raged in Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries. In the face of such experience, people came to think about the question what the prerequisites are for peace. They demanded that […]

EQUALITY OF RIGHTS

  All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. A constitution is a response to what individuals have undergone and experienced. The constitution is to provide the basis for peaceful coexistence, because people […]

THE STRUCTURE OF THE STATE

The Republic of Austria is a state – which means that it has a state territory and a state people which are both subject to a state power. The definition of what is a state is taken from international law. It also provides that, as a state, Austria has the capacity to negotiate and contract […]

REPUBLIC

Article 1 of the Austrian Federal Constitution of 1920 states that „Austria is a democratic republic. Its law emanates from the people.“ This solemn declaration establishes Austria both as a democracy and as a republic. Both these principles are not to be amended or repealed. Any modification of them would count as a so-called „total […]

WELFARE STATE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE

„Social justice“ is a frequent topic in political discussions and in the media. We may well assume that each individual holds some notion of social justice – and that these notions are likely to be very dissimilar. Social justice as the state’s intrinsic purpose Only if a legal order also guarantees a certain minimum level […]

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

If the constitution and the state under the rule of law are to be effective and to endure, law must be enforceable (see the text on the State under the Rule of Law). Its enforcement is the duty of the security authorities (police), the administrative authorities and the courts of law. If legal norms are […]

AUSTRIA IN GLOBAL CONTEXT

The Republic of Austria is an independent state (see the text on the Structure of the State). As such it is part of the international community of states. Numerous issues and problems can only be solved in a joint effort of (several) states. No state can exist on its own. Even everyday matters such as […]

THE STATE UNDER THE RULE OF LAW

Austria is a democratic state under the rule of law. In a state under the rule of law, the state and the individuals acting on its behalf (government, administration, courts of law, police etc.) can only act on the basis of legal provisions. They can do only what legal rules permit – never more. The […]

FREEDOM OF RELIGION, CONSCIENCE, THOUGHT AND BELIEF

The freedoms of thought, conscience, belief and religion are regulated jointly in one fundamental right. It is laid down not only in one single law, but is guaranteed in several laws and fundamental rights catalogues (which underlines its great importance): in the European Convention on Human Rights of 1958 in the Charter of Fundamental Rights […]