Which law worries you most

Separation of powers | State powers

Every state has a constitution that regulates the way people live together. Because if there were no laws, all the rules could simply be laid down by the strongest and many people would have no rights at all. So the constitution is a kind of house rule for a state. It also defines how a state regulates three important tasks: First of all, it has to make laws so that all citizens know what is allowed and what is forbidden. Then he has to implement these laws in everyday life and be careful that nobody violates them. And as a third task, a state must punish those who do not obey the law.

One state - three powers

In every democratic country, these tasks are divided into three different departments, which are called 'state powers'. One also speaks of 'separation of powers'. Of course, this has nothing to do with physical violence, but means that there are three departments in the state that share power. These three powers should control each other so that nobody abuses their power and, for example, makes laws that are bad for all citizens.

Executive, legislative and judicial branches

The three branches of government have special names: they are called the executive, legislative and judicial branches. The legislature is also called the 'legislative power'. The name comes from the Latin word 'Lex' - that means 'law'. The legislature is therefore that part of a state that is allowed to pass laws. Mostly these are the parliaments. In Germany, for example, the Bundestag, the Bundesrat and the parliaments of the federal states belong to the legislature.

The executive is watching

The word 'executive' comes from Latin. 'Executio' means 'to execute' there. The executive in a state is therefore the 'executive power'. It must ensure that the laws passed by the legislature are also implemented in people's everyday lives. The executive branch includes all the authorities, such as the police or the tax offices. The members of the federal and state governments are also part of the executive in Germany.

Anyone who breaks a law will be punished

The third state power is the judiciary. This term also comes from Latin: 'Ius' means 'right' there. The judiciary is the 'judicial power' of a country - that is, the courts. This includes federal courts such as the Federal Constitutional Court, but also courts at the local level, such as a district court. The courts have different tasks: some decide how to punish citizens who have broken a law. For example, other courts check whether a law contradicts the constitution. Judges must not allow themselves to be influenced by anyone - not even the government or members of the legislature.

Status: 03/23/2010, 11:27 am