RIGHTS, FREEDOMS AND DUTIES OF BRITISH CITIZENS
Basically every citizen has the freedom to do and to say anything, if it is not against the law. The most important freedom possessed by everyone is physical freedom. This normally means the freedom from assault, from arbitrary arrest and unlawful detention.
There is also a right to possess property and to protect both his life and his property. This right is not absolute but limited to using only that force that is necessary and reasonable.
One of the most frequently claimed “rights” is freedom of speech. This does not mean that you are free to say what you like when you like and where you like. It does mean that you can speak as you please provided it is not in a manner prohibited by law.
These rights are not designed to oppress, but to safeguard other people’s freedoms. The restrictions on the freedom of speech include slander, libel and the laws governing the use of insulting, threatening or abusive language or whereby racial hatred might be provoked.
Allied to freedom of speech is the right to march and to demonstrate. The freedom to demonstrate is not a right conferred by law as many people believe, but exists because demonstrating is not prohibited by law but it does not confer the right of people who might be demonstrating to break other laws.
There is no such thing as complete freedom, but a free society consists of a number of freedoms each of which may be restricted to some extent by legislation. These restrictions are embodied in the law and it is the function of police to enforce these laws.
The British system of policing relies heavily on public co-operation and approval. Essentially the authority of the police is little different from that of the rest of community. It is important for citizens to realize that they have duties as well as rights. It is the duty of a citizen to obey the law, to keep the peace and to assist the police.
The citizens can help police without personal risk. If a person sees a crime being committed, or knows the whereabouts of the criminal who is wanted or has committed a crime, he/she has to inform the police. By helping police we are helping preserve the rights and freedoms of other members of society.
Just because a person has been arrested it does not mean he has lost his rights. He has the right to be told why he is being arrested, the right to keep silent and to be reminded of this right. He has the right to contact a solicitor or a friend if it does not hinder the process of investigation or administration of justice.
(1) Administrative law is the branch of public law that is concerned with the relations between the government and individual citizens. It deals with the legal limitations on the actions of government officials, and on the remedies that are available to anyone affected by a transgression of those limits. It concerns social security, health, housing, planning, education, immigration, the exercise of powers by central and local government and the police, tribunals and inquiries.
Administrative law has a control function, acting in a negative sense as check of the unlawful exercise or abuse of executive/administrative power.
It can have a command function by making public bodies perform their statutory duties.
Administrative law embodies positive principles to facilitate good administrative practice. It provides accountability and transparency, including participation by interested individuals and parties in the process of government, e.g. by the pressure group Greenpeace.
It also provides a remedy for grievances occasioned at the hands of public authorities.
(2) The territory of Ukraine is divided into Autonomous Republic of Crimea, regions, districts, cities, towns and villages. There are two cities of central subordination – the capital Kyiv and Sevastopol in Crimea.
There are two tiers of local government in Ukraine. The basic level of government consists of village, town and city councils. Districts, city districts and regional councils form the regional level of local self- government.
Local governments have a wide responsibility to provide services to meet the needs of their inhabitants.
The main functions of local government are:
- local development;
- control over community property;
- protection of natural environment;
- land use and planning;
- construction planning;
- electricity supply;
- water supply;
- heating and natural gas supply;
- local public transport;
- maintenance of local public roads and public areas;
- primary and secondary education;
- health care;
- support of cultural and sport activities;
- fire protection.
Central government is responsible for deciding national policy, security and telecommunication.
Labour law regulates labour relations and other relations linked up with them: for example, the activity of trade unions, material security in old age and in event of sickness or disability, the procedure of supervising labour protection, the procedure of examining labour disputes, etc.
The legal regulation of labour relations is founded on definite principles reflecting the objective laws of labour organization. They are:
1. Right to work. Each citizen has the right to receive guaranteed employment and payment for work in accordance with its quantity and quality. He may not be discharged without sufficient legal grounds. There is no discrimination as to sex or nationality.
2. Remuneration with accordance of work done. It should be recognized that equal distribution of incomes is not feasible.
3. Labour discipline. Each citizen is to comply with labour discipline. This means that every worker must do his work conscientiously, that production assignments must be fulfilled, and that output must be competitive.
4. Labour protection. It is the state that fixes the length of the working week. As a rule overtime is not permitted and there are special provisions protecting the labour of women and juveniles. It is the duty of trade unions to supervise that labour legislation and safety rules are strictly observed.
5. Right of citizens to material security and social insurance is guaranteed by extensive development of state social insurance for industrial, office and other workers, free medical services for the people and the provision of numerous health and holiday homes.
6. Participation of employees in the management of enterprises is carried out by participating of working collectives and trade unions in the management by means of collective agreements signed between workers and management. It is work of collectives to discuss and to decide problems concerning social life, economic activities of enterprises, making working and living conditions better, etc.
The civil law of England, Wales and Northern Ireland covers business related to
the family, property, contracts and non-contractual wrongful acts suffered by one
person at the hands of another (torts). It also includes constitutional, administrative,
industrial, maritime and ecclesiastical law. Scottish civil law has its own broadly
The main sub-divisions of civil law are:
-family law, which includes the law governing marriage, divorce and the welfare of children;
-the law of property, governing ownership and rights of enjoyment, the creation and administration of trusts and disposal of property on death;
-the law of contract, which regulates, for instance, the sale of goods, loans, partnership, insurance and guarantees;
-the law of torts, which governs injuries suffered by one person at the hands of another, for instance, wrong like negligence, libel and malicious prosecution, nuisance and trespass.
BRITISH FAMILY LAW
Family law is divided into public and private law cases.
Public law cases involve local government and other public authorities and include matters such as care of children, supervision and emergency protection orders.
Private law cases involve divorce proceedings and access to children by the parents.When reaching a decision on cases concerning children, the court will make an order only if satisfied that this action is positively better for the child than making no order. In private law cases the child is able to express his or her opinion.
In public law cases the child is represented by a social worker appointed by the court to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
Most private law cases involving children and families are heard in the county court by judges who are specially trained and experienced in applying family law.
Most public law cases take place in family proceedings courts which are part of the magistrates’ court. The cases are heard by magistrates who are specially trained in family and child matters. Some public law cases which are exceptionally important or complex are dealt with by county courts or the High Court.
Criminal law is the system of law that deals with crimes and the punishment of criminals. An illegal activity or action wrongful against society is known as a crime.
The wrongful conduct that does not affect society as a whole, but only one or more individuals is known as a tort. Many wrongs are both crimes and torts. For example an assault and battery is a tort against the victim and is also a wrong against society because of the society’s interest in maintaining law and order.
Crimes are traditionally classified as treason, felonies and misdemeanors.
Treason is the crime of helping your country’s enemies giving them aid and comfort or trying to destroy your country’s government.
Felony is a serious crime such as murder, grand larceny, arson and rape, punishable by incarcerations in a penitentiary.
Crimes of lesser importance than felonies, such as petty larceny, trespass and disorderly conduct are called misdemeanors. Misdemeanors are usually punishable by fine or confinement in the local jail.
Because a crime is a public wrong against society, criminal actions are prosecuted by a government on behalf of the people. Historically, upon conviction of a crime, one of the following punishments has been imposed by society: (1) death, (2) imprisonment, (3) fine, (4) removal from office, (5) disqualification to hold any office or vote.
There are 52 police forces in the United Kingdom. Each police force is employed and paid by their local governments or councils. The police forces are completely independent of one another, and have their own polices, but they are always ready to go to each other’s help. Each force has its Criminal Investigation department (CID).
The London police force is called the Metropolitan police. It is not controlled by the local authority. It is responsible to the Home Secretary, and its chief officers are appointed by the central government. But once appointed these officers cannot be easily dismissed, and they make their decisions without interference from ministers.
The heads of police forces are Chief Constables. The Metropolitan police force is headed by the Commissioner of police. The lowest police rank in the British police is a constable. Constables don’t carry revolvers.
Besides the regular police forces there are various police forces which protect the security of territories and properties of different public authorities. They include the British Transport Police, Civil Aviation Police, Manchester Dock Police and some others.