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Due process is the legal requirement that the state must respect all legal rights that are owed to a person. Due process balances the power of law of the land and protects the individual person from it. When a government harms a person without following the exact course of the law, this constitutes a due process violation, which offends the rule of law.
Due process has also been frequently interpreted as limiting laws and legal proceedings (see substantive due process) so that judges, instead of legislators, may define and guarantee fundamental fairness, justice, and liberty. That interpretation has proven controversial. Analogous to the concepts of natural justice, and procedural justice used in various other jurisdictions, the interpretation of due process is sometimes expressed as a command that the government must not be unfair to the people or abuse them physically. The term is not used in contemporary English law, but two similar concepts are natural justice, which generally applies only to decisions of administrative agencies and some types of private bodies like trade unions, and the British constitutional concept of the rule of law as articulated by A. V. Dicey and others.However, neither concept lines up perfectly with the American theory of due process, which, as explained below, presently contains many implied rights not found in either ancient or modern concepts of due process in England.
Due process developed from clause 39 of Magna Carta in England. Reference to due process first appeared in a statutory rendition of clause 39 in 1354 thus: "No man of what state or condition he be, shall be put out of his lands or tenements nor taken, nor disinherited, nor put to death, without he be brought to answer by due process of law."When English and American law gradually diverged, due process was not upheld in England but became incorporated in the US Constitution.
In clause 39 of Magna Carta, issued in 1215, John of England promised: "No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land."Magna Carta itself immediately became part of the "law of the land", and Clause 61 of that charter authorized an elected body of 25 barons to determine by majority vote what redress the King must provide when the King offends "in any respect against any man". Thus, Magna Carta established the rule of law in England by not only requiring the monarchy to obey the law of the land but also limiting how the monarchy could change the law of the land. However, in the 13th century, the provisions may have been referring only to the rights of landowners, and not to ordinary peasantry or villagers.
Shorter versions of Magna Carta were subsequently issued by British monarchs, and Clause 39 of Magna Carta was renumbered "29".The phrase due process of law first appeared in a statutory rendition of Magna Carta in 1354 during the reign of Edward III of England, as follows: "No man of what state or condition he be, shall be put out of his lands or tenements nor taken, nor disinherited, nor put to death, without he be brought to answer by due process of law."
In 1608, the English jurist Edward Coke wrote a treatise in which he discussed the meaning of Magna Carta. Coke explained that no man shall be deprived but by legem terrae, the law of the land, "that is, by the common law, statute law, or custom of England.... (that is, to speak it once and for all) by the due course, and process of law.."
Both the clause in Magna Carta and the later statute of 1354 were again explained in 1704 (during the reign of Queen Anne) by the Queen's Bench, in the case of Regina v. Paty. [ clarification needed ] explained the meaning of "due process of law" as follows:In that case, the British House of Commons had deprived John Paty and certain other citizens of the right to vote in an election and committed them to Newgate Prison merely for the offense of pursuing a legal action in the courts. The Queen's Bench, in an opinion by Justice Powys,
[I]t is objected, that by Mag. Chart. c. 29, no man ought to be taken or imprisoned, but by the law of the land. But to this I answer, that lex terrae is not confined to the common law, but takes in all the other laws, which are in force in this realm; as the civil and canon law.... By the 28 Ed. 3, c. 3, there the words lex terrae, which are used in Mag. Char. are explained by the words, due process of law; and the meaning of the statute is, that all commitments must be by a legal authority; and the law of Parliament is as much a law as any, nay, if there be any superiority this is a superior law.
Chief Justice Holt dissented in this case because he believed that the commitment had not in fact been by a legal authority. The House of Commons had purported to legislate unilaterally, without approval of the British House of Lords, ostensibly to regulate the election of its members.Although the Queen's Bench held that the House of Commons had not infringed or overturned due process, John Paty was ultimately freed by Queen Anne when she prorogued Parliament.
Throughout centuries of British history, many laws and treatises asserted various requirements as being part of "due process" or included in the "law of the land". That view usually held in regards to what was required by existing law, rather than what was intrinsically required by due process itself. As the United States Supreme Court has explained, a due process requirement in Britain was not "essential to the idea of due process of law in the prosecution and punishment of crimes, but was only mentioned as an example and illustration of due process of law as it actually existed in cases in which it was customarily used".
Ultimately, the scattered references to "due process of law" in English law did not limit the power of the government; in the words of American law professor John V. Orth, "the great phrases failed to retain their vitality."Orth points out that this is generally attributed to the rise of the doctrine of parliamentary supremacy in the United Kingdom, which was accompanied by hostility towards judicial review as an undemocratic foreign invention.
Scholars have occasionally interpreted Lord Coke's ruling in Dr. Bonham's Case as implying the possibility of judicial review, but by the 1870s, Lord Campbell was dismissing judicial review as "a foolish doctrine alleged to have been laid down extra-judicially in Dr. Bonham's Case..., a conundrum [that] ought to have been laughed at".Lacking the power of judicial review, English courts possessed no means by which to declare government statutes or actions invalid as a violation of due process. In contrast, American legislators and executive branch officers possessed virtually no means by which to overrule judicial invalidation of statutes or actions as due process violations, with the sole exception of proposing a constitutional amendment, which are rarely successful. As a consequence, English law and American law diverged. Unlike their English counterparts, American judges became increasingly assertive about enforcing due process of law. In turn, the legislative and executive branches learned how to avoid such confrontations in the first place, by tailoring statutes and executive actions to the constitutional requirements of due process as elaborated upon by the judiciary.
In 1977, an English political science professor explained the present situation in England for the benefit of American lawyers:
An American constitutional lawyer might well be surprised by the elusiveness of references to the term 'due process of law' in the general body of English legal writing.... Today one finds no space devoted to due process in Halsbury's Laws of England , in Stephen's Commentaries , or Anson's Law and Custom of the Constitution. The phrase rates no entry in such works as Stroud's Judicial Dictionary or Wharton's Law Lexicon.
Two similar concepts in contemporary English law are natural justice, which generally applies only to decisions of administrative agencies and some types of private bodies like trade unions, and the British constitutional concept of the rule of law as articulated by A. V. Dicey and others.However, neither concept lines up perfectly with the American conception of due process, which presently contains many implied rights not found in the ancient or modern concepts of due process in England.
The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution each contain a Due Process Clause.Due process deals with the administration of justice and thus the Due Process Clause acts as a safeguard from arbitrary denial of life, liberty, or property by the government outside the sanction of law. The Supreme Court of the United States interprets the clauses as providing four protections: procedural due process (in civil and criminal proceedings), substantive due process, a prohibition against vague laws, and as the vehicle for the incorporation of the Bill of Rights.
Various countries recognize some form of due process under customary international law. Although the specifics are often unclear, most nations agree that they should guarantee foreign visitors a basic minimum level of justice and fairness. Some nations have argued that they are bound to grant no more rights to aliens than they do to their own citizens, the doctrine of national treatment, which also means that both would be vulnerable to the same deprivations by the government. With the growth of international human rights law and the frequent use of treaties to govern treatment of foreign nationals abroad, the distinction, in practice, between these two perspectives may be disappearing.
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Habeas corpus is a recourse in law through which a person can report an unlawful detention or imprisonment to a court and request that the court order the custodian of the person, usually a prison official, to bring the prisoner to court, to determine whether the detention is lawful.
Magna Carta Libertatum, commonly called Magna Carta, is a royal charter of rights agreed to by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, on 15 June 1215. First drafted by Archbishop of Canterbury Stephen Langton to make peace between the unpopular king and a group of rebel barons, it promised the protection of church rights, protection for the barons from illegal imprisonment, access to swift justice, and limitations on feudal payments to the Crown, to be implemented through a council of 25 barons. Neither side stood behind their commitments, and the charter was annulled by Pope Innocent III, leading to the First Barons' War.
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. This founding document, originally comprising seven articles, delineates the national frame of government. Its first three articles embody the doctrine of the separation of powers, whereby the federal government is divided into three branches: the legislative, consisting of the bicameral Congress ; the executive, consisting of the president and subordinate officers ; and the judicial, consisting of the Supreme Court and other federal courts. Article IV, Article V and Article VI embody concepts of federalism, describing the rights and responsibilities of state governments, the states in relationship to the federal government, and the shared process of constitutional amendment. Article VII establishes the procedure subsequently used by the 13 States to ratify it. It is regarded as the oldest written and codified national constitution in force.
Civil liberties are guarantees and freedoms that liberal governments commit not to abridge, either by legislation or judicial interpretation, without due process. Though the scope of the term differs between countries, civil liberties may include the freedom of conscience, freedom of press, freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, the right to security and liberty, freedom of speech, the right to privacy, the right to equal treatment under the law and due process, the right to a fair trial, and the right to life. Other civil liberties include the right to own property, the right to defend oneself, and the right to bodily integrity. Within the distinctions between civil liberties and other types of liberty, distinctions exist between positive liberty/positive rights and negative liberty/negative rights.
The Bill of Rights 1689, also known as the Bill of Rights 1688, is a landmark Act in the constitutional law of England that sets out certain basic civil rights and clarifies who would be next to inherit the Crown. It received the Royal Assent on 16 December 1689 and is a restatement in statutory form of the Declaration of Right presented by the Convention Parliament to William III and Mary II in February 1689, inviting them to become joint sovereigns of England. The Bill of Rights lays down limits on the powers of the monarch and sets out the rights of Parliament, including the requirement for regular parliaments, free elections, and freedom of speech in Parliament. It sets out certain rights of individuals including the prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment and confirmed that "Protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law". It also includes no right of taxation without Parliament’s agreement. Furthermore, the Bill of Rights described and condemned several misdeeds of James II of England.
In Canadian and New Zealand law, fundamental justice is the fairness underlying the administration of justice and its operation. The principles of fundamental justice are specific legal principles that command "significant societal consensus" as "fundamental to the way in which the legal system ought fairly to operate", per R v Malmo-Levine. These principles may stipulate basic procedural rights afforded to anyone facing an adjudicative process or procedure that affects fundamental rights and freedoms, and certain substantive standards related to the rule of law that regulate the actions of the state. The degree of protection dictated by these standards and procedural rights vary in accordance with the precise context, involving a contextual analysis of the affected person's interests. In other words, the more a person's rights or interests are adversely affected, the more procedural or substantive protections must be afforded to that person in order to respect the principles of fundamental justice. A legislative or administrative framework that respects the principles of fundamental justice, as such, must be fundamentally fair to the person affected, but does not necessarily have to strike the "right balance" between individual and societal interests in general.
In United States constitutional law, substantive due process is a principle allowing courts to protect certain fundamental rights from government interference, even if procedural protections are present or the rights are unenumerated elsewhere in the US Constitution. Courts have identified the basis for such protection from the due process clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution, which prohibit the federal and state governments, respectively, from depriving any person of "life, liberty, or property, without due process of law". Substantive due process demarcates the line between the acts that courts hold to be subject to government regulation or legislation and the acts that courts place beyond the reach of governmental interference. Whether the Fifth or Fourteenth Amendments were intended to serve that function continues to be a matter of scholarly as well as judicial discussion and dissent.
In the 1760s William Blackstone described the Fundamental Laws of England in Commentaries on the Laws of England, Book the First – Chapter the First : Of the Absolute Rights of Individuals as "the absolute rights of every Englishman" and traced their basis and evolution as follows:
In United States constitutional law, a Due Process Clause is found in both the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, which prohibits arbitrary deprivation of "life, liberty, or property" by the government except as authorized by law.
Incorporation, in United States law, is the doctrine by which portions of the Bill of Rights have been made applicable to the states. When the Bill of Rights was ratified, the courts held that its protections extended only to the actions of the federal government and that the Bill of Rights did not place limitations on the authority of the state and local governments. However, the post-Civil War era, beginning in 1865 with the Thirteenth Amendment, which declared the abolition of slavery, gave rise to the incorporation of other Amendments, applying more rights to the states and people over time. Gradually, various portions of the Bill of Rights have been held to be applicable to the state and local governments by incorporation through the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868 and the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870.
In U.S. constitutional law, rational basis review is the normal standard of review that courts apply when considering constitutional questions, including due process or equal protection questions under the Fifth Amendment or Fourteenth Amendment. Courts applying rational basis review seek to determine whether a law is "rationally related" to a "legitimate" government interest, whether real or hypothetical. The higher levels of scrutiny are intermediate scrutiny and strict scrutiny. Heightened scrutiny is applied where a suspect or quasi-suspect classification is involved, or a fundamental right is implicated.
The Imperial Laws Application Act 1988 is an important part of New Zealand's uncodified constitution. The Act applies certain enactments of the Parliament of the United Kingdom and its predecessors, rulings of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council and English common law into New Zealand law.
The phrase law of the land is a legal term, equivalent to the Latin lex terrae, or legem terrae in the accusative case. It refers to all of the laws in force within a country or region, including statute law and case-made law.
Paul v. Davis, 424 U.S. 693 (1976), is a United States Supreme Court case in which a sharply divided Court held that the plaintiff, whom the local police chief had named an "active shoplifter," suffered no deprivation of liberty resulting from injury to his reputation. In the case, the court broke from precedents and restricted the definition of the constitutional right to privacy "to matters relating to 'marriage procreation, contraception, family relationships, and child rearing and education".
The Constitution of the United Kingdom or British constitution comprises the written and unwritten arrangements that establish the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as a political body. Unlike in most countries, no attempt has been made to codify such arrangements into a single document. Thus, it is known as an uncodified constitution. This enables the constitution to be easily changed as no provisions are formally entrenched. However, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom recognises that there are constitutional principles, including parliamentary sovereignty, the rule of law, democracy and upholding international law.
The rule of law is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as "[t]he authority and influence of law in society, especially when viewed as a constraint on individual and institutional behavior; (hence) the principle whereby all members of a society are considered equally subject to publicly disclosed legal codes and processes." The term rule of law is closely related to constitutionalism as well as Rechtsstaat and refers to a political situation, not to any specific legal rule.
A bill of rights, sometimes called a declaration of rights or a charter of rights, is a list of the most important rights to the citizens of a country. The purpose is to protect those rights against infringement from public officials and private citizens.
Article 9 of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore, specifically Article 9(1), guarantees the right to life and the right to personal liberty. The Court of Appeal has called the right to life the most basic of human rights, but has yet to fully define the term in the Constitution. Contrary to the broad position taken in jurisdictions such as Malaysia and the United States, the High Court of Singapore has said that personal liberty only refers to freedom from unlawful incarceration or detention.
Parliamentary sovereignty is a concept in the constitutional law of some parliamentary democracies. It holds that the legislative body has absolute sovereignty and is supreme over all other government institutions, including executive or judicial bodies. It also holds that the legislative body may change or repeal any previous legislation and so it is not bound by written law or by precedent.
Klopfer v. North Carolina, 386 U.S. 213 (1967), was a decision by the United States Supreme Court involving the application of the Speedy Trial Clause of the United States Constitution in state court proceedings. The Sixth Amendment in the Bill of Rights states that in criminal prosecutions "...the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy trial" In this case, a defendant was tried for trespassing and the initial jury could not reach a verdict. The prosecutor neither dismissed nor reinstated the case but used an unusual procedure to leave it open, potentially indefinitely. Klopfer argued that this denied him his right to a speedy trial. In deciding in his favor, the Supreme Court incorporated the speedy trial protections of the Sixth Amendment against the states.