HOME

TheInfoList



OR:

A preamble is an introductory and expressionary statement in a document that explains the document's purpose and underlying philosophy. When applied to the opening paragraphs of a statute, it may recite historical facts pertinent to the subject of the statute. It is distinct from the
long title In certain jurisdictions, including the United Kingdom and other Westminster-influenced jurisdictions (such as Canada or Australia), as well as the United States and the Philippines, primary legislation has both a short title and a long title. Th ...
or
enacting formula An enacting clause is a short phrase that introduces the main provisions of a law enacted by a legislature. It is also called enacting formula or enacting words. It usually declares the source from which the law claims to derive its authority. In ...
of a law. In
parliamentary procedure Parliamentary procedure is the accepted rules, ethics, and customs governing meetings of an assembly or organization. Its object is to allow orderly deliberation upon questions of interest to the organization and thus to arrive at the sense or t ...
using Robert's Rules of Order, a preamble consists of "Whereas" clauses that are placed before the resolving clauses in a resolution (formal written
motion In physics, motion is the phenomenon in which an object changes its position with respect to time. Motion is mathematically described in terms of displacement, distance, velocity, acceleration, speed and frame of reference to an observer and m ...
). However, preambles are not required to be placed in resolutions. According to Robert's Rules of Order, including such background information may not be helpful in passing the resolution.


Legal effect

While preambles may be regarded as unimportant introductory matter, their words may have effects that may not have been foreseen by their drafters.


France

In
France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. Its metropolitan area e ...
, the preamble to the constitution of the Fifth Republic of 1958 was considered ancillary and therefore non-binding until a major jurisprudential reversal by the Constitutional Council in a decision of 16 July 1971. This decision, which began with the words "Having regard to the constitution and its preamble," affected a considerable change of French constitutional law, as the preamble and the texts it referred to, the
Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (french: D├ęclaration des droits de l'homme et du citoyen de 1789, links=no), set by France's National Constituent Assembly in 1789, is a human civil rights document from the French Revolu ...
of 1789 and the preamble to the constitution of the Fourth Republic, took their place alongside the constitution proper as texts understood as being invested with constitutional value. The Charter of the Environment of 2004 was later appended to the preamble, and the Constitutional Council identified three informal categories consisting of the fundamental principles recognized by the laws of the Republic, the , and the .


Canada

In
Canada Canada is a country in North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering over , making it the world ...
, the preamble to the
Constitution Act, 1867 The ''Constitution Act, 1867'' (french: Loi constitutionnelle de 1867),''The Constitution Act, 1867'', 30 & 31 Victoria (U.K.), c. 3, http://canlii.ca/t/ldsw retrieved on 2019-03-14. originally enacted as the ''British North America Act, 186 ...
was cited by the Supreme Court of Canada in the
Provincial Judges Reference The ''Reference re Remuneration of Judges of the Provincial Court (P.E.I.)'' 9973 S.C.R. 3 is a leading opinion of the Supreme Court of Canada in response to a reference question regarding remuneration and the independence and impartiality of pr ...
, to increase guarantees to
judicial independence Judicial independence is the concept that the judiciary should be independent from the other branches of government. That is, courts should not be subject to improper influence from the other branches of government or from private or partisan inte ...
. The Bosnian Constitutional Court, particularly citing the case law of the Supreme Court of Canada, also declared that the provisions of the preamble of the Bosnian
Constitution A constitution is the aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation or other type of entity and commonly determine how that entity is to be governed. When these prin ...
are invested with a normative force thereby serving as a sound standard of judicial review for the Constitutional Court.


European Union

Due to concern over its potential effects, the draft preamble of the proposed
European Constitution The Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe (TCE; commonly referred to as the European Constitution or as the Constitutional Treaty) was an un ratified international treaty intended to create a consolidated constitution for the European ...
, in 2002, caused much controversy because of the possible inclusion of a reference to the Christian heritage of Europe.


Australia

Likewise, in
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. With an area of , Australia is the largest country by ...
in 1999, a
referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a direct vote by the electorate on a proposal, law, or political issue. This is in contrast to an issue being voted on by a representative. This may result in the adoption of ...
on whether to adopt a new preamble was accompanied by a promise that the preamble, if adopted, could not be enforceable by the courts, as some were worried with how the preamble could be interpreted and applied.Goldsworthy, Jeffrey. "The Preamble, Judicial Independence and Judicial Integrity." ''FORUM Constitutionnel'' (2000)


India

In
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the so ...
, the Supreme Court frequently rules unconstitutional amendments which violate the
Basic Structure The basic structure doctrine is a common law legal doctrine that the constitution of a sovereign state has certain characteristics that cannot be erased by its legislature. The doctrine is recognised in India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Pakistan, and ...
of the Constitution, especially its Preamble.


See also

* Preamble to the United Nations Charter * Preamble to the United States Constitution * Preamble to the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines *
Preamble to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms The preamble to the ''Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms'' is the introductory sentence to the Constitution of Canada's Charter of Rights and '' Constitution Act, 1982''. In full, it reads, "Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that reco ...
*
Preamble and Title 1 of the Swiss Federal Constitution The preamble and the first title of the Swiss Federal Constitution of 18 April 1999 determine the general outlines of Switzerland as a democratic federal republic of 26 cantons governed by the rule of law. Preamble The preamble to the Consti ...
* Constitution of Fiji: Preamble * Preamble to the Albanian Constitution *
Preamble to the Constitution of India The Preamble of the Constitution of India presents the principles of the Constitution and indicates the sources of its authority It was adopted on 26 November 1949 by the Constituent Assembly and came into effect on 26 January 1950, celebrate ...


References

* {{Authority control Legal terminology Legal documents