Due Process of Law: Protecting the Legal Rights

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The phrase ‘due process’ was first used in the fifth amendment to the U.S. Constitution which was ratified in 1791. So, what is the 5th amendment due to the process clause and how does it work? The clause protects anyone from being deprived of life, liberty, and property without due process of law.

Again the phrase ‘due process’ was in the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which was ratified in 1868. The 14th amendment due to process clause limits the states to deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.

Hence the phrase ‘due process’ is only the phrase that is used twice in the U.S constitution- first in the 5th amendment than in the 14th amendment.

Rights protected under the due process of law clause:

The 5th amendment due process and the 14th amendment’s due process rights work to give the following rights to every individual:

  • Due process rights apply both to civil matters as well as criminal matters and the state and federal proceedings. 
  • It is these rights that help in resolving the legal matters in a fairly and just manner so that every individual is treated equally.
  • Right for speedy trial
  • Right to be informed for the criminal charge
  • Right to confront witnesses and to know opposing witnesses
  • Right to present evidence and call witnesses in support
  • Right to be represented by a lawyer
  • The court to prepare a written record of the evidence and testimony presented
  • Right to have the decision, based on the evidence, proof, witnesses, and testimony

History of Due Process:

The due process was originally used in the 39th article of the Magna Carta (a 13th-century document that focuses on the relationship between the English monarchy, the Church, and feudal barons). The document limited the king from changing any rule or ignoring any laws and the rules Magana Carta have to be followed by the monarchy.

After its issuance, Magna Carta remained a part of British laws for centuries, but the relationship between the parliament and court limited its application.

Later, the drafter of the constitution again included the due process in the 5th and then in the 14th amendment. The due process amendment protected the natural rights of the citizens of the U.S. by giving them a chance for fair justice.


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