GCSE Citizenship - Rights and Responsibilities

These cards are about our civil, legal and human rights and the responsibility that comes with these rights


Definitions and Key Points

Rights: Things that you're entitled to or free to do

  • Everyone has rights.
  • They are important as they make sure that people are treated fairly

Legal Rights: Rights that are set down in the laws of a country

  • For example: the right to vote
  • If you don't get your legal rights then you can take the case to court
  • they differ between different countries

Right need to be balenced by responsibilities

  • For example: your responsibility to go to lessons and behave yourself balences a teachers's right to a safe place to work and your right to an education

The UK is a representative democracy

  • This is where people elect representatives(MPs etc) and they make decisions for everyone
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Rights at Different Ages

Your legal rights change as you get older and more mature so all these rights comes with a certain level of responsibility

At 14 years

  • you can work part-time
  • you can buy soft-drinks from a bar

At 16 years

  • you can buy lottery tickets
  • leave school (after GCSEs)
  • have heterosexual or homosexual sex (ONLY with people who are 16 and consent to it)
  • get married with your parent's consent

At 17 years

  • you can drive a car

At 18 years

  • you can buy cigarettes
  • buy alcohol and drink it in public bars
  • vote in elections
  • make a will
  • leave home WITHOUT parental permission
  • get married WITHOUT parental permission
  • rent or buy a house and get a mortgage
  • go into a casino
  • buy fireworks
  • stand for Parliment as an MP

At 21 years

  • you can adopt a child
  • stand for the European Parliment as an MEP
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Rights NEED Responsibility

Responsibilities as a citizen are all about respecting the rights of others and doing what is expected of you

Your responsibilities change as you get older too:

At 10 years

  • You are expected to know the difference between right and wrong
  • You can be charged with a criminal offence

At 18 years

  • You are responsible for supporting yourself (this usually involves getting a job so you can support yourself financiallyetc.)

If you have children

  • You have responsiblity of bringing them up
  • This includes freeding, clothing and housing them up to the age of 18
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Democracy, Rights and Freedoms

The UK is a representative democracy.

We vote to elect a national government every 5 years or so

Since 1969, almost everyone over the age of 18 has the right to vote but it is not compulsory. 

Many prisoners don't have the right to vote

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Rights and Freedoms

For true democracy people must have:

Freedom of Speech and  Opinion

  • This means you have the right to think and speak about your views and ideas openly

Freedom of Association

  • This means you have the right to spend time with whoever you want and do whatever you want (as long as it's legal)
  • It has many parts to it from allowing people to chat to who they like at pub to letting them hold peaceful protest and start their own political parties (this is vital in democracy)
  • Being able to join a trade union is also a very important part of Freedom of Association
  • However, the right to join trade unions is limited, for example, Policemen can't strike

The Right to Privacy

  • You have the right to a private life so for example, people can't just enter you home or take unwanted pictures of you
  • Your personal information is protected too by 'The Data Protection Act 1998'. This means that companies can only use your data for certain agreed uses and they are not allowed to pass that information on to anyone
  • Then again, the government IS allowed to invade your privacy though through government intelligence sources in the interests of national security
  • Infringement of a person's privacy is a serious matter and can be taken to court

Moral and Social Rights

  • Moral Rights, these are based on your knowledge of right and wrong. these all should be the same in the all countries
  • Social Rights are things like the entitlement to things like the right to education, work and food
  • Some of the Social Rights are provided by the state to make sure everyone gets the best out of life. Things like an Old Age Pension and the Education Act
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