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Legal professionals do not have a better understanding of the constitution

Do people actually understand the constitution? This is what Jelle But, PhD candidate at Constitutional and administrative law, wondered. To find out, he conducted a survey among 1333 respondents. His research shows that lawyers and other legal professionals actually do not have a better understanding of the constitution than people with no legal background. .

91.3% of the respondents found the constitution important, but at the same time, over 40% replied that they had never read even one section of a law. The survey did not test the participants on their knowledge, but it tested the participants ‘on their ability to recognise situations where constitutional norms or values apply’ (Mr. Online). The results showed that respondents with a higher level of education were more self-assured about their knowledge, but they did not score higher than those with a lower level of education: lawyers and other legal professionals did not have a better awareness of constitutional norms than people without a legal background.

But says this survey is the first in a series. He says it should ‘provide a starting point for measuring the effectiveness of the constitution in society’.

Want to know more?

You can read the entire article (in Dutch) on Mr. Online.

Would you like to know how you would score on a test about the constitution? We will conduct our own survey on 16 June on the faculty Instagram page @leidenlaw.

Photo: Sasun Bughdaryan via Unsplash

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