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Constitutional JusticeA Liberal Theory of the Rule of Law$
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T. R. S. Allan

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199267880

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199267880.001.0001

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Equal Justice and Due Process of Law

Equal Justice and Due Process of Law

(p.121) 5 Equal Justice and Due Process of Law
Constitutional Justice


Oxford University Press

The principles of equality and due process lie at the heart of the rule of law, when interpreted as an ideal of constitutionalism, based on each citizen's equal dignity. The meaning of the rule of law cannot be confined to matters of procedure, narrowly interpreted: ‘procedure’ is merely an aspect of ‘process’, whose integrity preserves the fundamental right of equality, or equal citizenship. Since due process supplements fair procedures by insisting on the application, by public officials, of appropriate criteria of decision, it imposes substantive limitations on their power. Legislative and administrative judgments alike must be made within a constitutional framework that identifies, and enforces, explicit and widely acknowledged precepts of justice. Conformity to these precepts ensures a genuine —substantive —equality of all before a law that serves a coherent (if capacious and adaptable) conception of the common good. This chapter discusses administrative justice and constitutional principle, judicial functions and executive agencies, and legislative classifications and the definition of ‘act of attainder’.

Keywords:   justice, constitutionalism, due process, administrative justice, constitutional principle, judicial functions, executive agencies, act of attainder, equal citizenship

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