Due Process


Due process is the legal requirement that the state must respect all legal rights that are owed to a person.

Due Process by LegalYou


Due process balances the power of law of the land and protects the individual person from it.

Law is a system of rules that are created and enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior.

The phrase law of the land is a legal term, equivalent to the Latin lex terrae, or legem terrae in the accusative case.

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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.

The rule of law is the legal principle that law should govern a nation, as opposed to being governed by arbitrary decisions of individual government officials.


Due process has also been frequently interpreted as limiting laws and legal proceedings 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.

In English law, natural justice is technical terminology for the rule against bias and the right to a fair hearing.

Procedural justice is the idea of fairness in the processes that resolve disputes and allocate resources.


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.

English law is the common law legal system of England and Wales, comprising mainly criminal law and civil law, each branch having its own courts and procedures.

Albert Venn Dicey, KC, FBA, usually cited as A. V. Dicey, was a British Whig jurist and constitutional theorist.


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.

Magna Carta Libertatum, commonly called Magna Carta, is a charter agreed to by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, on 15 June 1215.


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.

The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America.

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